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Utah Democratic gubernatorial candidate says he doesn’t stand with party on marriage equality

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

SALT LAKE CITY — Peter Cooke, the Democratic candidate for Governor of Utah, is distancing himself from the party’s national platform by declaring his opposition to marriage equality, civil unions and abortion.

Vowing to represent “Utah values,’ Cooke said his opposition to same-sex marriage stems from his faith — he is a member of the Mormon church, which has actively opposed gay unions in California and elsewhere.

Peter Cooke

“To me gay marriage is part of my religious belief and I support that and I respect other religious beliefs and I support and love those who are in the gay community,” Cooke said. “I think what needs to be done in Utah is for us to all live together, be compassionate. That’s what the Democratic Party is showing.”

Cooke’s public remarks come less than two days after the Democratic National Party voted to include language in the party’s platform that calls for recognition of same-sex marriages and defense of legal abortions.

While he opposes same-sex marriage, Cooke told The Salt Lake Tribune that he supports a state law that would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, which the Mormon church has also supported.

Cooke, who is challenging incumbent Republican Gov. Gary Herbert in November, said he wanted to make his positions clear on these issues, so he Herbert can have a substantive debate on the issues he believes Utahns care about — funding education, fostering good-paying jobs, protecting Hill Air Force Base and showing leadership in state government.

Despite his differences with the national Democratic Party, Cooke said he will be voting for President Barack Obama over the presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney, although he said that he could work with either as governor.

Cooke also supports allowing same-sex couples the right to adopt children — a practice currently prohibited under Utah law.

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21 more reader comments:

  1. He’s entitled to his opinion, he’s just wrong. :-)

    Posted on Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 6:18pm
  2. He’s wrong. But the thing is, abortion and marriage equality are the two litmus tests to win in Utah.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 6:18pm
  3. So much for separation of church and state…..and gods forbid a politician actually thinking for themselves, instead of using religion as a failsafe fallback for their own views (or lack of religion, Yes I am talking to you, Australian PM Gillard!)

    Posted on Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 6:22pm
  4. blue dog dems should be thrown out of the party, the repubs demand they sign pledges and follow rules and even in the minority, they have been successful at their games.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 6:23pm
  5. Pretty stupid man.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 6:23pm
  6. I look at it this way, if he is a Dem and wants to vote against LGBT interests, then it behooves the good people of UTAH not to vote him into office. You vote what you deserve.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 6:24pm
  7. He seems like he could evolve though, if he already supports adoption rights and non-discrimination measure.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 6:24pm
  8. Governor of Utah… Color me surprised… Although I find it alarming to see your comment Corey. I DON’T want a candidate to sell their own views and opinions down the river for the “greater consensus” of the party.

    I think your example of how the GOP is run is a prime example of how not the smartest and most sensible ideas gain traction, but the ones that come from the loudest and most obnoxious of the party.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 6:26pm
  9. Im Am sure that Hitler would be proud to call him a friend…lets go back to wearing yellow stars and pink triangles, like a modern type of Lucky Charms!

    Posted on Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 6:28pm
  10. Well then he knows where the door is, don’t let it hit him on the ass on his way out. The Democratic party is evolving and there is no place in it for people who aren’t on board with progress.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 6:32pm
  11. I would still rather see him win than his Republican challenger!

    Posted on Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 6:36pm
  12. He can ‘stand’ with the Republicans then. The last thing we need is another hater on the Left.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 7:06pm
  13. MORON

    Posted on Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 7:21pm
  14. UTAH duh

    Posted on Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 7:21pm
  15. Well, he’s an idiot for sure, but he’s trying to keep his constituants happy. He might as well change parties.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 8:50pm
  16. the democrat party is a joke. when will we get a REAL liberal party here in America? seriously. how many of our democrats are willing to stand up and seriously try to end the drug war, end the wars in the middle east, reduce our military, fight for universal healthcare, and push for gay marriage? not many. republicans dont mind pushing in the opposite direction, but we are just sitting here, on the defense.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 8:59pm
  17. Everyone has an opinion and has a right to his or her vote, he shouldn’t be demonized for that.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 10:10pm
  18. I’d hate having to live somewhere where neither candidate would support our equality.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 10:23pm
  19. Asshole!!

    Posted on Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 11:01pm
  20. I think their is room in our party for those who differ in opinion. To be completely idealistic and radical kick out those who don’t fit out idealogy is exactly what the tea party does!

    Posted on Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 11:49pm
  21. Thete is no rooom for a difference of opinion when it cimes to civil rigjts.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 15, 2012 at 1:45am