Jon Huntsman on Civil Rights
Republican UT Governor
A: I believe in traditional marriage first and foremost. I've been married 28 years, with 7 terrific kids. But I also believe in civil unions. Because I think this nation can do a better job when it comes to equality. And I think this nation can do a better job when it comes to reciprocal beneficiary rights. And I believe that this is something that ought to be discussed among the various states. I don't have any problem with states having this discussion. But as for me, I support civil unions.
Q: So why are your GOP opponents wrong?
A: They are not wrong. All I'm saying is this ought to be an issue that takes place at the local level of government, that's where these decisions ought to be made. I believe in traditional marriage. But I also believe that subordinate to that we haven't done an adequate job when it comes to equality. That is just my personal belief. Everyone is entitled to their personal belief too.
The ambassador nominee jotted a handwritten note to Page, thanking him for his kind support. "Let's hope that someday--all people are seen as equal under the laws of our land. With very best wishes--Jon."
Huntsman drew national attention in 2009 with his public support for civil unions and other rights for same-sex couples--a sharp break from the Republican orthodoxy, especially in conservative Utah.
In Utah, it is legal to fire someone for being gay or transgender. The gay rights advocacy group Equality Utah has been trying to change state law for several years but has been rebuffed by the Republican-controlled Legislature. Last year, the group got then-Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.'s support for extending some rights to gay people, although none of the bills became law.
Huntsman resigned this month to become U.S. ambassador to China, leaving Herbert, who was lieutenant governor, in charge until a special election in 2010. Both are Republican. Salt Lake City is considering an anti-discrimination ordinance, but conservative state lawmakers are eyeing passage of a law that would trump it.
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