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Utah governor says he’s open to law allowing civil unions

Thursday, January 23, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Gov. Gary Herbert indicated Thursday that he would be open to considering a law allowing civil unions if state residents pushed for such an option.

Gov. Gary Herbert (R-Utah)

Gov. Gary Herbert (R-Utah)

No such proposal is pending, but the Republican governor was asked about the idea during his monthly televised news conference.

“If there’s other ways to get from here to there that can be the common-ground approach, let’s take a look at it,” Herbert said.

However, Herbert said his job now is to defend the state’s 2004 amendment to the state constitution that bans same-sex marriage and civil unions.

The governor said he was surprised and disappointed when a federal judge overturned the ban in December. More than 1,000 gay couples rushed to wed until the U.S. Supreme Court halted the marriages earlier this month.

Utah has appealed the federal judge’s ruling to the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is expected to issue a decision in a few months.

Herbert directed state agencies to freeze recognition of the same-sex marriages after the Supreme Court issued its emergency stay to halt the weddings.

The governor said Thursday he personally supports Utah’s constitutional amendment banning gay weddings and said marriages should involve a man and a woman.

“I think that’s the best way to have family arrangements,” he said. “The best chance for children to be the best they could be.”

Herbert said he understands the joy and confusion felt by gay couples since the Dec. 20 ruling.

“Clearly the people involved in gay relationships are together, they’re loving each other, they’re taking care of each other, just like people in other families and traditional families are doing,” Herbert said. “And it has been working.”

The gay community deserves respect, he said, but he repeatedly affirmed his commitment to the ban.

“There’s speculation that attitudes have changed,” Herbert said of polls indicating a shift in public opinion since 2004. “But we can’t base our government based on polling. It’s got to be based on the rule of law.”

If Utah residents want to change the law, there’s a method for that, Herbert said.

Herbert also said he was open to a proposed Utah law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual identity or orientation.

However, he stopped short of endorsing the statewide proposal, saying he would need to see the specific language.

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125 more reader comments:

  1. But men can marry 10 women. Seems legit

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:20pm
  2. Garrett Piersa

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:21pm
  3. I thought gay marriage was happening there?

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:21pm
  4. it did, then the SC put a stay on it until the courts decide.

    Replied on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:22pm
  5. no Governor, you should only be open to full equality and stop bull shitting everyone. ps close your mouth, you are attracting flies.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:21pm
  6. Governor Herbert, I’m open to IMPEACHING your corrupt self!

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:21pm
  7. Now he’s grasping at straws cause he knows whats coming.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:22pm
  8. Where did these straws come from? And what are we drinking?

    Replied on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:24pm
  9. they pull them out of the thin air in their butts.

    Replied on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:50pm
  10. Well, isn’t that big of him?

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:22pm
  11. Nope….nothing but equal

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:22pm
  12. Well progress is progess when it comes to the way people look at the situation. It may not be the ideal for utah’s same sex couples, but it is showing that people are slowly changing the ways they look at it.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:22pm
  13. Oh how generous of him…

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:22pm
  14. No acceptable. We, the LGBT community should not, and I believe will not, settle for this. Civil Unions are a second rate think and we are not second right citizens.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:23pm
  15. Too little, too late, asshole.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:23pm
  16. What's with the awful profile pic? :( http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/23/opinion/pinkwashing-and-israels-use-of-gays-as-a-messaging-tool.html

    Replied on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:34pm
  17. Equal but different doesn’t fly anymore.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:23pm
  18. We are way beyond that now!

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:23pm
  19. He’s out of office #Boombigot

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:24pm
  20. That is mighty big of him

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:24pm
  21. We offered civil unions for years but the bigots didn’t want anything even close to marriage. We shouldn’t back down now, We a re winning.. Run it to ground

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:24pm
  22. Here in Michigan, there was a vote up regarding civil unions, and it was voted down. Next came marriage equality, they voted that down and amended our state constitution. After all was said and done, most of the knuckle dragging neanderthals said, "hey, we would allow you to have a civil union, that would be OK." We had to point out to them that they were against that as well and they voted against it.

    Replied on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:59pm
  23. Civil unions are still SECOND CLASS , ……………………

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:24pm
  24. The good governor is not getting memos for the past 10 years.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:24pm
  25. it shouldnt be something votes decide on period

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:25pm
  26. Great! He’s open to treating us like 2nd-class citizens… what a warm and caring human he is… NOT!

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:25pm
  27. Separate but equal? HELL NO.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:25pm
  28. Sorry douchebag, time for “bargaining” is over! You’re gonna lose, and you’re gonna lose BIG FUCKING TIME! EAT THE TURD SANDWICH YOU MADE FOR YOURSELF MORON!

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:25pm
  29. I like how you have such manufactured rage for a state you don't even live in.

    Replied on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:31pm
  30. Benji, I see you have grasped a fundamental skill of facebook, you checked out my profile. Does it tell you about my gay brother, best friend, or anybody else I know about who DOES LIVE in Utah. NOPE, Benji, I also don't understand or accept your statement of "manufactured rage" unless you are referring to the rage I and many other AMERICANS have that has been created and fueled by continual denial of our Constitutional rights by asshats like this bargaining pussy. I am NOT a Utahan, or whatever, true, but I am an American and since they have stepped out of their state many times, most notably with the Mormon Church's financial and political activism in California during the whole Prop 8 issue, it's GAME ON! Care to dance some more Benji? I got some moves, bring it!

    Replied on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:35pm
  31. WAITING BENJI! WAITING!!!

    Replied on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:35pm
  32. And when and IF you do come back to this conversation, bring a VERY COMPREHENSIVE knowledge of Brown vs Board of Education so we can DANCE LIKE SERIOUS GROWN UPS to the melody of "SEPARATE BUT EQUAL". time's wasting Benji buddy.

    Replied on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:37pm
  33. I like how you how use female genitalia as an insult. That's totally not misogynist or anything.

    Replied on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:41pm
  34. Did Benji take his ball and go home??

    Replied on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:41pm
  35. Read this and learn to relax a little. http://nplusonemag.com/rage-machine

    Replied on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:42pm
  36. LOL, thanks Benji! You just relax all you want, that whole RELAXING thing is great for those who like getting leftovers, seconds and crumbs. I like how you went to "PUSSY" being a euphemism for female genitalia. It also, in my research, is used to define someone or thing as "SOFT", as in PUSSY WILLOW. Benji, you get to have your opinions, OBVIOUSLY, and so do I. Thanks for playing, and you didn't address any of the issues I brought up. You deflected to misogyny and anger management. Have a nice day as a second class citizen and good luck with that whole "thanks for the toleration" thing. Worked well for African Americans, Japanese Americans, women, etc.

    Replied on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:49pm
  37. And I would like to retract my use of the word "pussy". I don't want any confusion as to my support of women and my opposition to this WEASEL and BARGAINING BIGOT detract from my righteous anger and rightness of cause.

    Replied on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:07pm
  38. My apologies, I stand chastised.

    Replied on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:08pm
  39. Smfh

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:25pm
  40. Sit down old man!

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:26pm
  41. Separate but equal?….give me a freaking break

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:26pm
  42. Why not offer Mormons a “civil union” arrangement and deny them the right to marriage? Does this sound as fair?

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:26pm
  43. Civil unions……Not enough, Bitches. We are gonna win our way to get married. Women’s rights, African American rights weren’t made in these kinds of compromises.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:26pm
  44. Too bad, no way. No state need enshrine second-class citizenship into its laws vis “civil unions.” Marriage Equality continues its march.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:26pm
  45. taking ur uncivil attitude and ur civil union and shove it where the sun don’t shine

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:27pm
  46. Why trade down to second class citizenship, governor bozo?

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:28pm
  47. It’s too late, baby doll, it’s too late….

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:28pm
  48. How generous of this prick

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:28pm
  49. that would be fine if civil unions were the same as marriage. But they are not.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:28pm
  50. separate but not equal… no thank you…

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:29pm
  51. gee thanks

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:29pm
  52. “Seperate but equal” doesn’t work

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:29pm
  53. There’s no financial rights in civil unions if one partner passes away and leave money to the love one. The hand writing’s on the wall. Domino’s falling state to state to state. (That penalty tax crap)

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:30pm
  54. He supports segregation then LOL

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:30pm
  55. I couldn’t care less what this guy is “open to”, unless it is full marriage equality. And by the way, it’s not all up to him. Right is right and fair is fair, and equal is equal – not less than equal. from L.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:31pm
  56. Civil Unions just will not do.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:31pm
  57. Not good enough, still making someone a second class citizen by the title alone

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:31pm
  58. Go fuck yourself stupid mormon

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:32pm
  59. Nice try, but that train left the station 10 years ago when Massachusetts introduced marriage equality. “Separate but (not) equal” is totally unacceptable.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:33pm
  60. LOL

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:33pm
  61. He knows that he can’t win this one

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:33pm
  62. nope not enough..its marriage equality

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:34pm
  63. No, not good enough you asshole…you go and have a civil union then…

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:35pm
  64. Benji Moque-Comique. The desire for fellow gays to be free and equal is not manufactured rage, it is the desire for civil rights. Is that too difficult to understand?

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:35pm
  65. Civil unions are total bullshit. They’re the last bastion of “separate but equal,” meaning that the bigots try to say, “Hey, we’ll give you civil unions, because you’re still not good enough to be equal to me.”

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:35pm
  66. Oh how gracious of him to consider giving us rights clearly bestowed upon us by our constitution. What he considers is irrelevant cuz it’s not his decision; my ancestors fought in the revolution to win our rights and that’s that.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:35pm
  67. Not good enough. Separate but equal is not equal. We’ve been there, done that, and it’s over.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:35pm
  68. Too late for that. Get over it buddy. Same sex marriage will be law of the land soon. So you can put the civil union where the sun don’t shine. Cheers.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:35pm
  69. Benji Moque-Comique is a troll

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:35pm
  70. Another “separate but equal” ploy. No thanks.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:36pm
  71. Second-class citizenship, anyone? With all the legal advantages that come with marriage, it should be available to ALL couples, regardless of sexual orientation.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:36pm
  72. Marriage equality for all! ♡

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:36pm
  73. what part of unconstitutional does the esteemed governor not understand?

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:37pm
  74. I’m sorry, I want a cake.
    In entitled to a cake just like everyone else.
    And just because you don’t want/like cake…
    Doesn’t mean I should settle for your dried up old muffin!!!!

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:38pm
  75. That’s big of him.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:38pm
  76. unnacceptable

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:38pm
  77. Some were already allowed to marry, just let that continue, and STFU! Straight ally here!

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:38pm
  78. a nice gesture but not the same….sue sue sue sue sue

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:39pm
  79. CRUMBS

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:41pm
  80. Why, how nice gov! Now, take the next step to marriage equality and stop denying constitutional rights because of your bigotry and ignorance!

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:41pm
  81. Separate but equal doesn’t fly in my book. Hell no, we should all fight for our right for equality. Non of this, I’d vote for civil unions, just not marriage. Well guess what asshole, a marriage is a civil union! So why can’t we call it marriage since that is exactly what a civil union is.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:41pm
  82. Separate but equal

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:42pm
  83. Bogus. Marriage is it. Governor Herpderp better learn to accept the fact that the feds are going to make this a nationwide law soon. No states constitution can over ride the country one. Discrimination is against the law. Not allowing equal marriage is un constitutional. Get over it Herpderp…Pretty soon, it’ll be the law of the land.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:42pm
  84. It’s time to move on from civil unions. Marriage is the now!

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:44pm
  85. Separate but equal? Fuck you!

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:44pm
  86. If it’s unconstitutional in one state it’s unconstitutional in all of them. We WILL win!

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:44pm
  87. Perhaps “allowing” what the constitution states…you know…you’re elected—-follow the law, DON’T break it.
    When an elected official publically states he’s not going to enforce laws—he should be escorted out of the office. The PEOPLE have spoken.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:45pm
  88. another losing gov.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:45pm
  89. How about we open the door for his ass to get slammed on?

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:46pm
  90. He offers civil union because he knows he’s going to loose. Nice of you to offer but no thank you

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:46pm
  91. Gene Roddenberry anticipated Governor Herbert. Brilliant.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQONBf9xMss

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:46pm
  92. 2nd class status is not acceptable.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:47pm
  93. TOO LITTLE!!!!

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:48pm
  94. Marriages! That’s equality!

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:48pm
  95. Too… Fucking… Late… Bitch.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:49pm
  96. Sorry, gov. It’s marriage or bust.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:50pm
  97. my response: go fuck yourself. separate is not equal.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:54pm
  98. Not enough!

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:54pm
  99. Governor, you’re either going to recognize ALL of the citizens in your state as equal or you’re not. There really are no gray areas to dissect or weed out.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:54pm
  100. Nope! Marriage equality, period!!! It’s over, you moron!

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:56pm
  101. Civil union these nuts!!! You want to choose to give us rights but we have no choice in paying taxes, more taxes then most. High insurance premiums, continually contributing to the us economical systems but still can’t get married in every state but a person just stepping off the boat with nothing invested in the system can, PLEASE!!! again civil union my NUTS!!!

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:58pm
  102. Separate is not equal, so shut up!

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:58pm
  103. Tough cookies!

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:59pm
  104. Full rights and full equality. Demand it!

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:59pm
  105. As hizzoner walks it back, it’s probably too late for a “Plan B” solution. He should remember that Plessy v. Ferguson is no longer good law, and that “separate but equal” has itself been found unconstitutional.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:00pm
  106. How civil of him! Tell ya what, LET HIM ACCEPT a civil union and see if he likes it!

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:01pm
  107. Get use to marriage equality its happening if u like or not.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:05pm
  108. Not good enough!

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:10pm
  109. Civil union is not marriage

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:11pm
  110. Too little too late

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:14pm
  111. He’s going to have to accept full equality. The 10th Circuit will rule in our favor.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:16pm
  112. Civil unions are unacceptable. Marriage equality is a must.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:19pm
  113. And we would cheerfully say: ‘No. Marriage and only marriage. You can all leave if you don’t like it.’ By the way, when do we get to vote on YOUR marriages? You don’t get a vote, though, because you’d be biased. Only neutral parties to hetero unions would be allowed to vote. Start being nice to us…

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:21pm
  114. Take it! This is great news. Don’t you people realize that civil unions is the club that you use to get marriage equality? When a state offers to recognize civil unions they are declaring that same sex couples serve a public policy good. Once that is recognized it is very easy to go from civil unions to marriage because the existence of civil unions invalidates the states attempt to declare that opposite gender mariage is a public policy issue.

    Don’t be so short sighted.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:24pm
  115. NO

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:26pm
  116. No skim milk marriages! Separate is not equal!

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:29pm
  117. I am done with being handed the second-class treatment! Equality all the way for everyone!

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:33pm
  118. Yet we are not open to you keeping your job.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:36pm
  119. No. You’ll get marriage. Swallow that. Asshole.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:39pm
  120. @Stephen De Chellis, I understand your argument but that won’t work, they’ll pass the unions and at the same time write a ban into constitution, that’s what happened here in CO and now it won’t be able to be votes on till 2016 so it’s not a good idea.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:42pm
  121. How about not. We need equal rights for all where nobody stands above the other.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:45pm
  122. Who exactly, is this sack of sawdust, to tell us what “his highness” will permit? I think he smells what’s coming. A Supreme Court ruling in favor of gay marriage that will be HIS fault for pitching it there.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:46pm
  123. Fuck that we are not second class citizens you bitch!

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:49pm
  124. Bravo – governor – thank you.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:58pm
  125. If he’s “open” to civil unions, spread wider to civil rights. It’s not that hard.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 9:01pm