Newt Gingrich’s Lesbian Half-Sister Is Delightful on Rachel Maddow

Yesterday we were served up a reminder that even being incredibly homophobic and conservative doesn’t mean you don’t have every reason not to be. Take, for example, Newt Gingrich. This guy is hard to take seriously for so many reasons, but nevertheless he still seems to be perceived as a viable Republican presidential contender. He is also against gay marriage. On this topic and his presidential campaign, Gingrich’s lesbian step-sister, Candace Gingrich-Jones spoke to Rachel Maddow and it was something to behold!

Gingrich-Jones has been an outspoken advocate for queer equality ever since her half-brother became the speaker of the house in 1995. Her 1996 autobiography, The Accidental Activist was a hit and she currently works as Associate Director of Youth and Campus Outreach for the Human Rights Campaign. Also, she made a guest appearance on the Friends episode “The One With The Lesbian Wedding” where she officiates the lesbian wedding. Check it out!

The fact that people are taking Newt Gingrich seriously for the presidency is worrying. On the other hand, watching two out lesbians talk politics makes me giddy, so there’s that. Queerty shares a few highlights from the interview, including the awkwardness of holiday events at the Gingrich household between the brother and sister and their partners:

“We’ve always been mutually [respectful] of each other and our abilities and our desires to change the world…  The catch is, when they’re at a Christmas gathering sitting across the dinner table from us, he and Castilla still have way more rights than me and my wife, Rebecca, and I do.”.

Would you mind passing me the right to be federally recognized as legally wed?

My favorite part of the interview may be when Gingrich-Jones shares that though she invited Newt and Castilla to her wedding, they didn’t attend (although they did send a wedding gift). In a gentle dig, Maddow inquires, “Was it from Tiffany’s?” to which Gingrich-Jones calmly replies that she is not a liberty to say.  (In May it was revealed that Gingrich owes $500,000 to Tiffany’s.) And then there was the part  where Gingrich-Jones clarified that Gingrich is really pronounced “GingricK,” with a  K instead of “GingriCH” like Richie Rich. You gotta laugh, or you’ll cry.

Keeping up with the current absurdity of presidential electoral politics can be a drag. Some may find it disappointing that Gingrich-Jones didn’t use this opportunity to discredit her brother more fully, but the fact that she is using her relationship to this right-wing bigot to make noise for human rights to the extent that she has is no small matter. It’s encouraging to see Gingrich-Jones working for human rights ultimately as a response to the political life of her homophobic brother — and thoroughly enjoyable to see her discussing it with Rachel Maddow.

Gingrich-Jones is voting for Obama.

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Jamie J. Hagen

Jamie lives in Boston and is currently a PhD student in Global Governance and Human Security at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She is a freelance writer and also a team associate for the Boston chapter of Hollaback!.

Jamie has written 76 articles for us.


  1. For some reason I read the title of the article as Half Gay Sister instead of Gay Half-Sister and then I was confused.

  2. I am suddenly very glad my brothers are not conservative douchebags, just the regular kind of bro-douchebags. Also that they’re totally cool with me being gay, that’s pretty good too.

  3. It must be so difficult to retain composure when sitting across the table with someone who is working with all his power to cement your second-class citizenship. I found an interesting satire the other day on anti-gay rights advocates’ insistence that we not get upset when they argue against our rights to marry, adopt, retain a job or exist: I really don’t know how Candace doesn’t punch him in his big smug face. It’s a real credit to her.

  4. Respect, Gingrich-Jones. To be at total odds with one’s family member, and in such a public manner, while maintaining a dignified, and unslanderous approach is not something we see much of in the political sphere. Refusing to fight fire with fire, while refusing to back down…

    I got a little teary-eyed. Plus “watching two out lesbians talking politics makes me giddy” too.

  5. I was irrationally happy during the interview, it’s just so awesome to see two butch ladies talking politics on tv.

    I always get confused when I try to say Gingrich, so I’m glad to finally know how to say it.

  6. So when I clicked play on the video, Jane Lynch came up and started singing about nook. I was like “I didn’t know Jane Lynch was Newt Gingrich’s lesbian half-sister!”

  7. she’s a lot nicer then i am. not only would i not have invited him to MY gay wedding, i would have publically talked about what a cheating, lying pompous two time loser at marriage he is and how he wouldn’t recognize the “sanctity of marriage” if it slapped him across his arrogant face. i recognize that many conservatives are willfully ignorant but how can they be so ignorant as to make this unethical, egotistical bastard a front runner?

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