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Jon Huntsman: Republicans should embrace marriage equality

Thursday, February 21, 2013

ARLINGTON, Va. — Jon Huntsman, a former GOP presidential contender and Utah governor, on Thursday urged the Republican party to embrace marriage equality for gays and lesbians, and warned that failure to do so will continue to result in the electorate becoming further disenchanted with the party.

In an op-ed entitled “Marriage Equality is a Conservative Cause,” published Thursday in The American Conservative magazine, Huntsman wrote, “Americans will not coalesce around Republicans’ free market ideas if we stand against their friends, family, and individual liberty.”

Jon Huntsman

Huntsman, a Mormon, bucked his church and others in the GOP when he supported legislation that would have allowed civil unions for same-sex couples in Utah, but until now has shied away from endorsing same-sex marriage.

In a June 2011 interview on MSNBC, Huntsman said, “I think redefining marriage is something that would be impossible and it’s something I would not be in favor of. But I believe, just subordinate to marriage we have not done an adequate job in the area of equality and reciprocal beneficiary rights.”

But, “That was four years ago,” Huntsman now writes:

Today we have an opportunity to do more: conservatives should start to lead again and push their states to join the nine others that allow all their citizens to marry. I’ve been married for 29 years. My marriage has been the greatest joy of my life. There is nothing conservative about denying other Americans the ability to forge that same relationship with the person they love.

All Americans should be treated equally by the law, whether they marry in a church, another religious institution, or a town hall. This does not mean that any religious group would be forced by the state to recognize relationships that run counter to their conscience. Civil equality is compatible with, and indeed promotes, freedom of conscience.

“Governor Jon Huntsman is one of a growing number of Republicans to embrace the idea that marriage should be for all Americans,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin, in a statement. “From former Vice President Dick Cheney to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Huntsman is yet another high profile Republican official to make the case that treating people equally under the law is an American value.”

The former governor also served as the U.S. Ambassador to China from August 2009 to April 2011, and U.S. Ambassador to Singapore from August 1992 to June 1993. He served as Governor of Utah from January 2005 to August 2009.

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16 more reader comments:

  1. certainly would have been a better candidate than Romney, thankfully the RNC doesn’t recognize quality when they see it

    Posted on Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 1:57pm
  2. best of luck there. they seem to be crazies lol

    Posted on Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 1:58pm
  3. Wake up G.O.P. HATERS!!

    Posted on Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 2:02pm
  4. dirty fucking mormon lost the election because his cult members stopped fundong him

    Posted on Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 2:04pm
  5. - Actual rationality in any form is a liability within the GOTP.

    Posted on Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 2:07pm
  6. Too bad he swung to the far right when campaigning instead of doing the.right thing. That party is lost for at least a generation. They are too in love with extremism, hate, bigotry & intolerance :-(

    Posted on Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 2:37pm
  7. He is right, campaigning against gay marriage is gonna cost the GOP in the long run.

    Posted on Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 2:48pm
  8. Still don’t support Republicans on a fiscal and foreign level, but if they all supported marriage equality I’d applaud them.

    Posted on Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 4:34pm
  9. wow a politician that can actually think for himself. Not just spout out the bs from his party. We need more like him.

    Posted on Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 6:04pm
  10. I cant stand Republicans, but good job Mr. Huntsman…..welcome aboard.

    Posted on Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 9:38pm
  11. Posted on Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 10:58pm
  12. Republicans should but they won’t!

    Posted on Friday, February 22, 2013 at 12:01am
  13. The Obama campaign last year said if there was any candidate they were afraid to face it was Jon Huntsman. I think he was the saner choice for a GOP candidate and would have given Obama a run for his money. Plus, he served on Obama’s cabinet too. The GOP have this guy to run in 2016. Sad thing is that he’ll never see the light of day.

    Posted on Friday, February 22, 2013 at 12:58am
  14. Embrace Life 1st!!!

    Posted on Friday, February 22, 2013 at 4:19am
  15. I loved having him as my Governor. He publicly declared his support for marriage equality back then and the conservative Utah crowd still adored him. We all cried a little bit when he left mid-term to be Ambassador to China for President Obama, but excited for his opportunity. We are proud of him still and wish him well in his political future. At this point, he is the only Republican I would consider voting for. He reminds us that sometimes it is more important to do the right thing than vote strictly based on party. Republicans in Washington should listen and learn.

    Posted on Friday, February 22, 2013 at 5:38am
  16. During the Primaries season, he was the only Republican that I would have even remotely considered voting for if he had become the presidential candidate–and that’s saying a LOT.

    Posted on Friday, February 22, 2013 at 6:33am