Marriage For Me But Not For Thee

John Corvino, a philosophy professor, notes a potential complication for Newt Gingrich’s claim that he has repented, namely, that he continues to commit adultery in the form of remarriage:

Gingrich speaks with a straight face about the sanctity of “one man, one woman” marriage. . .  His defenders from the religious right . . . claim that Jesus offers forgiveness and redemption to repentant sinners. Presumably, in their minds, anyone in a committed same-sex relationship counts as unrepentant. . . . 

Yes, the Bible speaks of forgiveness and redemption. But if marriage really is “until death do us part,” then Gingrich is still committing adultery with Callista. But don’t take my word for it, take Jesus’:

“Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” (Mark 10: 11-12)

This double standard is worth pointing out, frequently, publicly and forcefully. 

Under the traditional natural-law and Catholic view, marriage is the union of one man and one woman for life. Nevertheless, those who commit adultery and get divorced are certainly not disqualified from the presidency. More to the point, under the civil law, we even permit them to marry. 

I assume Gingrich agrees that this latter violation of the natural law — divorce and remarriage — should be allowed under civil law.  (It would be interesting to know if he does not.)  Yet he has certainly not joined a crusade of constitutional amendment-making to prohibit divorce and remarriage, nor so much as uttered a word in support of such an effort. He wants his own preferred marriage practices to be free and legal, but wants to prohibit the marriages of same-sex couples.  I can imagine reasons for that distinction, but Gingrich has never explained them before the audiences that drown him in cheers. And I am at a loss to find a justification for supporting civil remarriage — while opposing civil gay marriage — in the religious and philosophical teachings he claims as his own.

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