Ben Johnson contributed to this story.
WASHINGTON, D.C., December 21, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com)  – Former presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, who less than one year ago described same-sex “marriage” as “pagan behavior,” has told the Republican Party it must “come to grips” with the “reality” that marriage redefinition is “inevitable.”

In an interview with The Huffington Post, the former House Speaker said public opinion is moving inexorably toward allowing homosexual couples to legally wed.

“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,” he said. “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.”

The author of the Contract with America said he “didn’t think that [marriage redefinition] was inevitable 10 or 15 years ago, when we passed the Defense of Marriage Act.”

But as recently as last year, while he was seeking the Republican presidential nomination, Gingrich opposed gay “marriage,” saying it signaled the"rise of paganism.”  At the time, he said he thought the public support it enjoyed was a “temporary aberration that will dissipate.”

“Reading the interview made me proud of my brother,” said Gingrich’s lesbian half-sister, Candace Gingrich-Jones. She took at least partial credit for her famous brother’s change of heart, saying, “The time that my wife Rebecca and I have spent with Newt has had an effect, and he has evolved on marriage.”

“Thanks for the early Solstice present, Brother,” Gingrich-Jones added. “I look forward to your and the GOP’s continued evolution on issues of LGBT equality.”

Social conservatives suggested a different course of action.

“The Republican Party needs to go back to its roots,” Peter Sprigg, senior research fellow at Family Research Council, told LifeSiteNews.com. 

“If you go back to the Republican Party’s roots, what they were founded on back in the nineteenth century, it was their opposition to what they called the ‘twin relics of barbarism,’ slavery and polygamy,” he said. 

Sprigg doubts the media narrative that says same-sex “marriage” is overwhelmingly popular with the American people in the first place. 

“If you focus on the definition of marriage, 60 percent of Americans still believe that it’s between one man and one woman,” he told LifeSiteNews.

Rather than back down, he said pro-family advocates need to be more vocal in explaining the benefits of traditional marriage to those whose views are otherwise formed by popular culture.

“The key question people should be asking is why marriage is a public issue in the first place. What benefit is it to society for people to get married?” said Sprigg.

The American tax code has been modified since the late 1940s to encourage family formation through child tax credits and exemptions. This reflects society’s interest in providing children – the workforce of tomorrow – with a stable home.

“People see these couples saying it would benefit them to be able to get married, but marriage isn’t for the couple,” he said. “The public purpose of marriage is for the raising of children.” 

“Same-sex marriages serve no public purpose, so there’s no reason to publicly recognize them,” Sprigg told LifeSiteNews.

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Since Mitt Romney’s loss in the 2012 presidential elections, the Republican Party has been rent over social issues and the future direction of the party.

Gingrich, who converted to his most recent wife’s Catholicism, told reporters he continued to believe marriage is between a man and a woman personally. However, he believes the new political reality requires the GOP to compromise its longstanding position.

“The Republican Party should make policy based on what’s right, not what’s politically expedient,” Sprigg stated.