By Jeffrey Hartinger
Originally published on Advocate.com June 13 2011 3:45 PM ET
Candace Gingrich-Jones, the lesbian half-sister of former House speaker Newt Gingrich, has come to the defense of her brother amid controversies surrounding his bid for the presidency, according to The Huffington Post.
A majority of his presidential campaign staff resigned shortly after Gingrich went on a two-week cruise, at which many staffers claimed was an inappropriate time for such a vacation.
Gingrich-Jones, who currently works with the Human Rights Campaign, has also stated that her brother is softening on gay rights issues, giving some credit to his third wife, Callista Gingrich.
“She’s possibly gotten LGBT issues to no longer be a red meat issue for him politically,” said Gingrich-Jones.
In 2010, Gingrich was a major contributor to the successful campaign to oust three of nine Iowa Supreme Court justices who ruled in favor of marriage equality.
Of the $850,000 raised for the antigay groups, one third was donated by Newt Gingrich and his associates, according to Think Progress, a website of the Washington, D.C.–based advocacy and research organization Center for American Progress.
During a 1996 interview on Meet the Press, Gingrich stated that if his sister were ever to marry someone of the same sex, he would not attend the ceremony.
In August 2009, Candace married her longtime partner, Rebecca Jones, in Boston. Newt was not in attendance.