She said, "no."
The whole sensational business has caused quite a media dust-up, so let's talk...
I am no fan of Newt Gingrich. I will acknowledge that the man is bright, but beyond the intellect, he is a pure mess -- arrogant, dishonest, manipulative, ruthlessly self-absorbed. However, I am just fascinated to watch how the conversation about Newt's marital relationship foibles has evolved.
Newt is a "traditional marriage" guy, ironically enough. He is a signatory to the so called "marriage pledge," which reads, in part:
As President, I will vigorously enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, which was enacted under my leadership as Speaker of the House, and ensure compliance with its provisions, especially in the military. I will also aggressively defend the constitutionality of DOMA in federal and state courts. I will support sending a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman to the states for ratification. I will also oppose any judicial, bureaucratic, or legislative effort to define marriage in any manner other than as between one man and one woman. I will support all efforts to reform promptly any uneconomic or anti-marriage aspects of welfare and tax policy.
Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/newt-gingrich-vows-to-defend-the-defense-of-marriage-act.html#ixzz1k8tODpCP
As readers here might surmise, I am opposed to DOMA, and I believe it ought to be overturned. The catch-phrase definition of marriage as "between one man and one woman," is a great piece of marketing. It is easy to remember and it is easy to repeat in that sort of mindless, robotic sort of way that clever sales people love. Newt is, in a perverse sort of way, the perfect spokesman for the DOMA-ites. Hypocrisy is part and parcel of their insistence that all of us, every one, should be constrained by their paternalistic, myth-driven religion. Newt doesn't really buy that "one man one woman" thing. That is clear. He panders to his evangelical and conservative political base -- and they are gullible enough, and fervent enough, to buy the story he (and others like him) tells.
But, knowing that Newt Gingrich doesn't live up to his own press isn't all that interesting. What is interesting and instructive is the reactions and responses of the media types. They are the on camera actors who play out what they perceive to be the feelings and beliefs of all of us. Their almost universal "ewwwwww" is demonstrative of the assumptions that are made everywhere within our society:
If he was cheating on his wife, that's bad behavior on his part ... but for him to attempt to have that relationship and his marriage both? Well, that's just disgusting and scandalous.
From Fox News to MSNBC, and from ABC to CNN, the consensus is that there is only one way to DO intimate and loving relationships; only one way to have a "marriage;" and no reason to even question the assertion made by Gingrich's second wife, Marianne, that "that is not a marriage."
I've pointed before to our ubiquitous belief that the only way to do adult relationship is to march in lockstep and pattern our lives and our loves and our families on the template defined by the mainstream religious establishment and the wedding industry. There's no tolerance for differences... not even the capacity to imagine anything other than that one man one woman wedding cake topper fantasy.
There has been a flurry of excitement in the polyamory community as people point to the fact that just the mention of "open marriage" brings the conversation to a different place, and I suppose there is some validity to that perspective. I just don't know that I see much hope for this to move the needle. Those who cannot imagine themselves in anything but a traditional marriage aren't going to be convinced. The serial monogamy practiced by Gingrich might cause people to question his character, but it won't cause them to wonder about the essential nature of monogamy itself. The obverse argument that is Newt Gingrich and his series of weird and strange wives will never convince most people that it is possible to love more than one person AND do that with openness, honesty, and integrity. But then, I am not sure that Newt and the "ladies" are really a very good case for the whole marriage idea either.