Former House speaker Newt Gingrich responded to the legalization of same-sex marriage in New York, telling reporters on Saturday that he believes the country is moving toward “a terrible muddle.”
“I think we are drifting towards a terrible muddle which I think is going to be very, very difficult and painful to work our way out of,” he said in Indianola, Iowa, during a Tea Party bus tour event, according to Reuters.
After delaying the vote for days, the New York Senate voted late Friday night 33-29 in favor of legalizing gay marriage. Four Republicans voted “yes” on the bill while apologizing to constituents for the pro-gay shift that would likely be viewed as offensive.
Republican Sen. Mark Grisanti of Buffalo, who was undecided until the last moment, said he decided to vote for the measure that Governor Andrew Cuomo introduced after “doing research.” The Catholic senator said he could not "legally come up with an argument against same-sex marriage.”
The bill was quickly signed by Cuomo.
Gingrich, who is running for the Republican nomination for president, on Saturday reiterated his belief that marriage “is between a man and a woman” and expressed his intentions to try to defend traditional marriage.
“I think that’s what marriage ought to be and I would like to find ways to defend that view as legitimately and effectively as possible.”
Notably, Gingrich indicated that he didn’t have a problem with the way gay marriage was legalized – that is, by the New York legislature.
He pointed out the difference between New York and Iowa, noting that it was seven judges in Iowa who decided to “arbitrarily overturn the laws and the culture of the state.”
The Iowa Supreme Court ruled in 2009 that the 1998 Defense of Marriage Act, which limited marriage to a man and a woman, was unconstitutional, thereby allowing same-sex couples to marry.
“I mean New York at least, whether you agree or disagree with the outcome, it is in the elected process and it is in the legislature and it is with the governor and that’s the right venue,” Gingrich commented.
But traditional marriage supporters have argued that something as significant as the institution of marriage should be decided by the voters and not a small group of lawmakers. The National Organization for Marriage has emphasized that every time the issue has gone to the people, the people have voted no on gay marriage.
Also, a poll released Tuesday by the QEV Analytics, a public opinion research firm in Washington D.C., found that about 59 percent of New York voters said the issue of marriage should be directly decided by voters in New York. Only 26 percent said they prefer legislators to decide on the issue of changing the definition of marriage.
New York is the most populous state where gay marriage is legal. Five other states, along with the District of Columbia, allow same-sex couples to marry.