Posted on Jan 19, 2012
It’s being reported today that Speaker Newt Gingrich asked his second wife, Marianne Gingrich, for an “open marriage” in order to continue his relationship with one of his congressional assistants, who he eventually married and is now his third wife.  Marianne Gingrich says she refused.

An “open marriage” is one where the spouses agree that each (or one spouse) may in engage in extramarital sexual relationships, without this being considered infidelity or adultery by the partners.

But open marriages may pose complicated legal issues.  For instance, in some tates where extramarital sex (adultery) is illegal, the spouse having the extramarital affair would be committing a crime, whether or not the other spouse gives his or her consent.

Further, in states like Maryland where adultery is a ground for divorce, agreeing to an “open marriage” may foreclose the spouse who later changes her mind about the arrangement from bringing a divorce case on the ground of adultery.  The spouse having the affair may be able to raise the defenses of reconciliation, condonation or recrimination.

The interview of Marriane Gingrich is currently scheduled to air this evening on ABC News.