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Newt Gingrich: Time Has Come to 'Deal With Reality' of Same-Sex Marriage

Newt Gingrich
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

"It is in every family. It is in every community. The momentum is clearly now in the direction" of same-sex marriage, Gingrich says.

Newt Gingrich stumbled haphazardly into an upcoming cameo on NBC's Parks and Recreation recently -- but could time spent among the big-hearted people of Pawnee have softened the former House Speaker?

In a new interview, the three-times-married Gingrich has come out as accepting of what he thinks is the inevitability of legalized same-sex marriage throughout the country.

Speaking to The Huffington Post, Gingrich prefaced his remarks by maintaining that he personally viewed marriage as being between a man and a woman -- but that it was time for the Republican party to accept the distinction between "marriage in a church" from a morally acceptable "legal document issued by the state."

"It is in every family. It is in every community. The momentum is clearly now in the direction in finding some way to ... accommodate and deal with reality. And the reality is going to be that in a number of American states -- and it will be more after 2014 -- gay relationships will be legal, period," Gingrich said, referencing the growing number of states that have voted to legalize the practice.

"I didn't think that was inevitable 10 or 15 years ago, when we passed the Defense of Marriage Act," Gingrich said, referencing the anti-gay-marriage law he helped pass in 1996. "It didn't seem at the time to be anything like as big a wave of change as we are now seeing."

The statements represent a striking about-face for the politician, who in 2010 donated to an effort to vote three of seven justices off the Iowa Supreme Court for ruling in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage.

"I think the president should be, frankly, enforcing [DOMA], and 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," Gingrich told reporters after New York passed gay marriage legislation in June 2011.

Email: seth.abramovitch@thr.com

Twitter: @SethAbramovitch