Today Texas Gov. Rick Perry ended his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination and threw his support behind former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia. Perry’s withdrawal from the race wasn’t a big surprise — his support in polls was very low after a series of embarrassing stumbles and gaffes over the past few months.
On the other hand, Perry’s endorsement of Gingrich is at least a little surprising. The Texas governor had aggressively courted conservative evangelical voters throughout a campaign that began just after he hosted a large prayer rally in a Houston football stadium last August. Perry had repeatedly pointed to his positions on social issues, including his desire to “protect” traditional marriage by opposing same-sex unions. But he decided to support thrice-married Gingrich anyway.
Moreover, just before today’s announcement, ABC News released an excerpt of an interview with one of Gingrich’s former wives. She says Gingrich had asked her for an open marriage so that he could continue an affair with the woman who would become his third (and current) wife.
In her most provocative comments, the ex-Mrs. Gingrich said Newt sought an “open marriage” arrangement so he could have a mistress and a wife.
She said when Gingrich admitted to a six-year affair with a Congressional aide, he asked her if she would share him with the other woman, Callista, who is now married to Gingrich.
“And I just stared at him and he said, ‘Callista doesn’t care what I do,'” Marianne Gingrich told ABC News. “He wanted an open marriage and I refused.”
We don’t expect Gov. Perry to police Newt Gingrich’s marital bedroom, of course. In fact, we’d prefer that politicians focus on their own families instead of interfering in the personal lives of other folks. But we do wonder whether Gov. Perry thinks adultery and open marriages are as threatening to “traditional marriage” as a same-sex couple living in a legally recognized, loving and committed relationship allegedly is. Isn’t that a fair question now?