Gingrich Gets Glittered At Anti-Gay Minnesota Event
May 18, 2011 2:11 pm ET by Carlos Maza
2012 GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich was showered with glitter by a local activist during a book signing Tuesday night, just before the anti-gay Minnesota Family Council’s (MFC) annual dinner in Minneapolis.
During the signing, Gingrich was approached by Nick Espinosa, a 24-year-old Minnesotan, who pulled a box full of glitter out of his bag and proceeded to empty it on top of the GOP hopeful before being escorted out of the room:
ESPINOSA: Feel the rainbow, Newt! Stop the hate! Stop anti-gay politics! It’s dividing our country, and it’s not fixing our economy!
Another video of the confrontation shows Gingrich attempting to wipe away some of the glitter and responding, “Nice to live in a free country”:
While speaking to ABC News, Espinosa explained his decision to target Gingrich for the prank:
“Today, I invited Newt to feel the rainbow because he decided to bring his anti-gay politics to my state,” Espinosa told ABC News Tuesday night. “Newt has a long history of anti-gay politics and has chosen to focus on divisive social issues instead of working to fix our economy. I don’t think a free will adulterer like Newt has any ground to stand up while telling others who they can and can’t love.”
“His playbook is one that we see across the board with Republicans, focusing on divisive social issues like gay marriage that don’t do anything to fix our economy and then proposing as a solution to our budget crisis, cuts in social spending for the working families in Minnesota and across the country, and I don’t think that’s the way to solve our budget crisis either.”
Espinosa certainly has a point. Gingrich has been an outspoken critic of LGBT equality for years, warning of a “gay and secular fascism in this country,” opposing same-sex marriage and adoption, and telling Bryan Fischer that, if elected president, he would work to slow down the “homosexual agenda.”
Gingrich’s presence at a Minnesota Family Council event was also telling. The MFC is an aggressively anti-gay group that has even gone so far as to claim that LGBT teens commit suicide “because they’ve embraced an unhealthy sexual identity and lifestyle.” As Tim Murphy at Mother Jones noted:
MFC president Tom Prichard argued in a post on the group's blog that the recent spate of suicides by gay teen were tragic, but also the natural consequence of an unhealthy and immoral lifestyle decision. His post came after the death of Justin Aaberg, an openly gay 15-year-old from the suburban Twin Cities area who hanged himself last summer -- one of three gay teens at his high school to commit suicide in the past year. Aaberg's death was unfortunate, Prichard said, but was being manipulated by the all-powerful gay lobby.
Another MFC-linked group, the Parents Action League (which is headed by MFC researcher Barb Anderson), is involved in the ex-gay movement. According to the Minnesota Independent, the PAL has lobbied for schools to celebrate the Day of Truth, celebrating efforts to turn gay people straight through prayer. Minnesota Family Council, meanwhile, promotes the work of ex-gay ministries like Exodus International and Healing for the Soul on its website. As Right Wing Watch has noted, the MFC has deep connections to social conservative leading lights, including David Barton, the Texas pseudo-historian whom Bachmann invited to teach Congress about the Constitution.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) also attended the MCF event, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Bachmann has previously admitted to working “hand-in-hand” with a known anti-gay hate group, has called living “the gay and lesbian lifestyle ... personal bondage, personal despair, and personal enslavement,” and claims that God told her to introduce a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in Minnesota.
When asked why he decided to use a prank in order to protest Gingrich’s anti-gay stance, Espinosa told ABC News:
“It’s one of many tactics that can be used to create social change. You’ve seen examples of pranks having a lot of success recently,” Espinosa said. “Adding this bit of humor into the political debate and I think it’s a really good way to get people’s attention when they might not otherwise pay attention.”
“I think glitter’s fun. I think it was a nice makeover for his campaign. And in fact if he needs anymore glitter, I have some left over.”
If his goal was to draw attention to Gingrich’s anti-gay politics, it’s probably fair to say “mission accomplished.”