Newt Gingrich shed much of his campaign staff but remains in the race despite no obvious path at the polls to win the nomination, and he is using what remains of his viability to speak out in favor of an antigay ballot measure in North Carolina.
Gingrich calls on voters to pass Amendment One in a video released today in which he claims "there is an effort by radicals at every level to change who we are, to change what America is, and to change for our children into a future that I think will be much worse."
The ballot measure will be voted on May 8, the same day as the Republican primary. Gingrich appears to be hoping for a bump in votes by associating himself with the proponents of the constitutional amendment, which would not only ban same-sex marriage but also civil unions or even domestic partnerships.
"Marriage between a man a and a woman is at the heart of our civilization," Gingrich said. "It's a belief that is now under attack and yet it is at the very core of defining who we are. That's why I urge you to vote for the initiative right here in North Carolina."
Gingrich, whose half-sister is a lesbian, has spoken out against marriage equality throughout the campaign, even signing several antigay pledges. But his rhetoric had remained in interviews, and he hadn't created an advertisement specifically targeting LGBT people until now.
Gingrich tried to tie his support for the amendment to a larger theme of religious liberty that he and other candidates have staked out.
"This is part of the same great process this year that is involved with President Obama and that's involved with the whole danger of what's happening to our basic beliefs," he said. "There is an effort by radicals at every level to change who we are, to change what America is, and to change for our children into a future that I think will be much worse. This is your chance to turn out and vote and to vote for preserving America, and to vote for preserving a very basic institution."
Recent polls show that opponents of the measure still have a chance of winning, and they hope that a round of television ads released this week will help make the case.