Utah’s Governor Backs Civil Unions, Common Ground

dnews huntsman jon jrGov. Jon Huntsman Jr. of Utah announced his support for Utah’s Common Ground Initiative, which would offer a variety of basic rights to LGBT Utahns– not only that, but he says he supports civil unions as well. The Common Ground Intiative has taken a battering in the State House and Senate and only two measures, a fair housing bill and a domestic partner bill, remain, but the Beehive guv said he supported both. Gay rights leaders replied, “We’ll take all the help we can get.

The Salt Lake Tribune

“He’s long supported many of the ideas that are presented within the Common Ground Initiative,” said Lisa Roskelley, the governor’s spokeswoman, noting her boss waits to endorse specific bills officially until presented to him in final form. “He supports civil unions.”

It’s doubtful Huntsman’s backing will lead to civil unions getting past the conservative Legislature. And it may not help the rest of this year’s gay-rights legislative push, which already has shrunk from four bills to two.

On Day Two of the 2009 Legislature, a measure died in committee that would have allowed financial dependents — besides spouses, parents and children — to sue in the event of a breadwinner’s wrongful death.

And last week, Rep. Jackie Biskupski, D-Salt Lake City, ditched her proposal, which would have sought the Legislature’s and voters’ approval to erase the second part of Amendment 3 — Utah’s constitutional gay-marriage ban — that forbids civil unions.

Huntsman, who endorsed Amendment 3 when he ran for governor in 2004, now favors repealing that portion, Roskelley said…”

Gay rights leaders appreciate the support, but point to actual things the Governor can do to improve the lives of Utah’s gays and lesbians:

“We appreciate that the governor sees these are common-sense solutions to problems that Utahns are facing,” said Will Carlson, Equality Utah’s public-policy manager. “We’ll take all the help we can get.”

Still, he acknowledged the governor’s support won’t necessarily sway any votes on Capitol Hill. “It sure didn’t help liquor laws or cigarette taxes much,” Carlson noted.

But he said the governor could make the difference on a nonlegislative piece of the Common Ground Initiative: extending state employees’ health benefits to domestic partners.”

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #commongroundinitative #jonhuntsmenjr. #utah stories and more


  • dgz

    this is seriously shocking to me. then again, i know zip about Utah politics. do you think this is sincere, or is there an angle here?

    and how long until this dude gets impeached?

  • Jon92027

    well so much for him running for president in 2012 as had been rumored. no way he gets the republican nomination now

  • Charles J. Mueller

    Never mind all that.

    Governor Huntsman, Jr. deserves a rousing round of applause and some letters, email, faxs and phone calls to let him know how much we appreciate him doing the right thing, regardless of the effect it might have on his political aspirations.

    Now, if only a few more people on the Federal level would follow this courageous man’s lead…..

  • anna

    I live in SLC and know Huntsman. Weirdly sincere guy, bigger than Utah politics which is nutty like the south in the 60’s, with the meth/H of the 70’s, and some forward thinking green really smart people. He is one of them – with some humanity thrown in. New father. Green. Goes to the famer’s market and the peace rallies.
    No angle here. Smart enough to get civil rights and evolution.

  • dgz


    that’s encouraging. do you think his support will impact the local legislature at all?

  • Charles J. Mueller


    My kind of man, Anna.

    I’d love to shake his hand.

  • anna

    I have met him a local events including Sundance Film Festival.
    Local ultra conservative mormon republicans run this state – the reddest state in the union- although the university community in SLC is much more liberal and diverse. Don’t think Huntman’s support will help the legislators evolve much. He’s being blasted here, by people who think gays are scary and sick people who should stifle their feelings and not act on them. No wonder people kill themselves so often in Utah. Most people here don’t believe or even know about the research about genetics re sexual orientation, just like they also don’t believe in evolution.

    It’s a beautiful place to live if you can stand the politics, which is a church run state.

  • dfrw

    Call me cynical, but it is easy to support gay rights when there’s not a chance in hell that pro-gay legislation will make it to gubernatorial desk.

    Are there gubernatorial/executive orders in Utah?

Comments are closed.