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Utah Governor Supports Gay Rights

Timothy Kincaid

February 10th, 2009

Jon Huntsman, Jr., the Mormon Republican Governor of Utah, has come out in support of gay rights. (Salt Lake Tribune)

Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., a spokeswoman said Monday, backs Equality Utah’s Common Ground Initiative, a legislative effort that would provide some rights to gay and transgender Utahns. Even more, the Republican governor favors civil unions.


ABC 4 asked Huntsman, “You support civil unions?”

Gov. Jon Huntsman replied, “Well, its something I have given a lot of thought to and the answer is yes.”

“I believe in traditional marriage. I always have. But I also believe there’s more we can do in terms of enhancing those individual rights for others,” said Huntsman.

This is a rather unexpected turn of events. And one that caught many in Utah state politics off guard.

However, Jon Huntsman may be playing to a bigger audience than his neighbors. As a successful and popular governor, Huntsman is considered as a potential Republican Presidential nominee in 2012.

If this is part of Governor Huntsman’s strategy to craft his image for Nominee Huntsman, it tells us something interesting about what a conservative Republican in a conservative state predicts American attitudes towards gay couples will be in four years. But whatever his motivation, Huntsman’s support is very welcome.



February 10th, 2009 | LINK

If this is part of Governor Huntsman’s strategy to craft his image for Nominee Huntsman, it tells us something interesting about what a conservative Republican in a conservative state predicts American attitudes towards gay couples will be in four years.

Indeed. This (Utah Gov and the RNC election of Michael Steele, considering his opponents) is precisely what imminent victory looks like. I find it incredibly heartening to see some objective evidence that we are making progress even in the wake of Prop 8. Ultimate success won’t look like finally beating the GOP into bleeding submission; it will look like the GOP dismissing anti-gay politics as a distraction and conceding the fight so they can focus on other things like defunding science and fighting abortion and oppressing whomever’s next in line to be the despised minority.

February 10th, 2009 | LINK

I’m still not sure this nation is ready for a Mormon as its President. There is still a lot of negativity associated with Mormons. The majority of the public think it’s a “cult”. There are the implications of having LDS Church influencing the President, etc. I just can’t see Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. running for U.S. President.

I’m speculating, but in my opinion the Governor’s motivation was NOT political machinations to be more centrist. I honestly think Governor Huntsman was being truthful and honest in his opinion but nothing more. I don’t think he was saying this as a political ploy.

His family is so successful in business and entrepreneurial cancer research/hospital philanthropy, I doubt politics is really that important to him now. Jon Sr. has donated most of his billion-dollar net worth to cancer research and there is more to his legacy than politics.

I have a hard time in finding any negativity with the Huntsman family. Their Cancer Foundation is truly a blessing for residents of Utah and the nation.

I think Mr. Jon Huntsman, Jr. is smart enough, confident enough and insulated enough to speak his mind without worrying about political ramifications.

But, this news has caused many in the ultra-conservative blogosphere to pound out some very hate-filled comments, though. I suspect there might be a run on buying new keyboards at all the local office/computer accessory stores with what I have read. They must have worn out the keys with all the typing I have seen.

L. Junius Brutus
February 11th, 2009 | LINK

Since not even Giuliani or McCain supported civil unions in 2008, this looks like a very good sign – especially if it is indeed part of 2012-calculations. Could it be that the Republican Party is finally getting rid of the stranglehold that Christian fundamentalists have on it? Or giving them less and less each year?

February 11th, 2009 | LINK

There will be a 1:30 p.m. rally at the Utah State Capitol today. It’s not the gays who are going to rally. It’s: Utah Coalition for Traditional Families!

They’re upset about what?! They (meaning the Utah Legislature) completely ignore the LDS Leaders. They scoff at their hugely popular Governor.

They must be worried about something.

So, what it comes down to: They have an unreasonable obsession with gays. Wouldn’t psychiatrists label this as a phobia.

I’ll be interested in how many show up at the Capitol.

Do I need to start wearing a white-knot ribbon to work?

February 11th, 2009 | LINK

hum…has anyone checked to see if he was a donor to Yes on 8? That could put some light on how true to his word he is.

not so sure
February 11th, 2009 | LINK

Interestingly, Mormon marriage leader in Hawaii, Debi Hartmann, mentioned in the internal 97 HLM strategy Ballard memo, now supports marriage rights for same-sex couples, calling civil unions “invidious discrimination.”

Read her interview at:

There’s an amazing related link of an internal Latter Day Saints memo on this site where LDS Elder Loren C. Dunn admits that the Mormon Church leaders created Hawaii’s Future Today as a front organization and chose leaders who weren’t known as Mormons, including Hartmann, to deceive Hawaiian voters :

Also, a timeline shows Bishop DiLorenzo and Father Marc Alexsander joined in this deception. Hawaii, they felt, had no inherent opposition to Aikane relationships. They gave McNeil Wilson “unlimited funds” to defeat it in the legislature, giving us 12 years of denying our neighbors equal rights.

February 11th, 2009 | LINK

Even if he took more moderate positions, I can’t imagine ever voting for a Mormon as President after what the Mormon Church did in Alaska, Hawaii and California.

February 11th, 2009 | LINK

Mormons also played a HUGE role in the passing for Prop. 102 in Arizona.

I would not cast my vote for anyone and for any position, if I knew that person was a practicing Mormon.

Especially for President of the United States.

Mark F.
February 11th, 2009 | LINK

John and Eddie:

The Catholic Church also took an active role in supporting Prop 8. Does this mean you won’t vote for any Catholic, regardless of their personal positions?

February 11th, 2009 | LINK

Mark F.: The two are not equivalent by any means. The Mormon Church brought many more institutional resources to bear than the Catholic Church. They organized door-to-door teams, produced media materials, and as 2% of the state electorate funded something like three-quarters of the Yes On 8 war chest.

This is not to say that the Catholic Church is a saint — ha — but the sins of the LDS Church are far, far darker.

February 11th, 2009 | LINK

Mark F,

My experience with most Catholics is that they are more independant from their church. With most surveys of American Catholics on culture war issues, they tend to mirror the general population in terms of their opinions. You also have a long history of high profile Catholics (Kennedy, Ferraro, Pelosi, etc.) who have been publicly criticized by Bishops and Cardinals for their political positions, but didn’t miss a beat and stood their ground.

So, for the Catholic, I would be more likely to evaluate what they had to say and what their track record was.

I also have serious concerns about the long term goals of the Mormon Church in general politcally.

So, I would say that comparing Catholic and Mormon politicians currently is not the same thing.

It would be a welcome sign if more Mormon politicians could demonstrate long term record of independence from their church, but I am not holding my breath waiting for that one.

Emily K
February 11th, 2009 | LINK

I too thought about that before you made a comment about it Mark F., and my response is the same as above. The Mormons march in lock-step with the Utah Vatican. Most Catholics I know do not march in lockstep with the Roman Vatican. And while the RC church does indeed have its sins I find this is mostly through its leadership. the LDS church sins through its leadership AND its followers.

I too could never vote for a devout Mormon, simply because of the devious, under-handed, brutal political tactics they have engaged in for the past couple decades.

Mark F.
February 11th, 2009 | LINK

Shouldn’t we be judging people as individuals? It’s certainly possible for a devout Mormon to disagree with their church, the same as a Catholic. Perhaps it is less likely, but again–shouldn’t we judge people as individuals?

That said, formal membership or affiliation with any anti-gay organization seems problematic to me. Suppose the Catholic Church taught that black people were evil–would you approve of membership even if a person did not personally agree with that stand?

Regan DuCasse
February 11th, 2009 | LINK

Meg Whitman, vice pres and CEO of eBay has thrown her hat in the ring for Governor of CA.
She backed Prop. 8 and made a huge donation towards it’s passage.

We don’t need another like her that can’t recognize the civil rights of not only a distinctive minority, but a hugely PRODUCTIVE one as well.

Who could be moreso, but for Prop. 8.

She won’t participate in disqualifying the marriages that already took place, and big whoo.
So what?
She says that NOW, in hopes that perhaps those 18,000 couples will throw her their votes?
Oh cynic that I am!

She ain’t getting my vote, for sure.
And she shouldn’t get the votes of any gay person in CA!

Jason D
February 11th, 2009 | LINK

“Suppose the Catholic Church taught that black people were evil–would you approve of membership even if a person did not personally agree with that stand?”

Funny you should mention that, Mark.

February 11th, 2009 | LINK

Twenty or so lawmakers at the Utah Legislature are upset with the Governor. They held a press conference. Giving too many gay rights is too much like gay marriage and that’s not what Utahns want…or so they claim.

I distinctly remember when Utahns voted for Amendment 3 and they were reassuring gays that it wasn’t going to take away any of our civil rights.

Was that a lie?

Fred Karger is in Salt Lake City and is graphically showing where all the donors to Proposition 8 live.

That’s not sitting well with some folk here. But, it’s public information and it’s fun to zoom in to find out which of my neighbors had contributed to Proposition 8.

Technology has opened up a whole new aspect to politics.

February 11th, 2009 | LINK

Timothy – I think it sad that the moment one of THEM (Mormon, Republican, you know, the OTHERs) takes a stand in support of our rights, you immediately impute an ulterior motive to him. So this is the new, nefarious face of political opportunism? Do you really think that a Mormon is going to improve his chances of winning the Republican Party presidential nomination by supporting ‘gay rights’ now or any time in the foreseeable future? Really!??

To the other posters who have used this thread to vent against Mormons: based on my personal experiences with my Mormon relatives as well as what happened in California and Arizona, I yield to nobody in my contempt for the LDS church. But when one of its prominent members has the courage – and it does take courage – to take a public position that varies significantly from the party line on one of the Prophets’ major crusades, he deserves and gets a hearing from me.

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