Utah’s Resigning Governor Supports Civil Unions. His Replacement Does Not

Huntsman Utah

As Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (pictured, right) resigns from his post to become ambassador to China, his lieutenant governor Gary Herbert (left) steps in as Utah’s chief executive. In a state that’s home to the Mormon Church, that’s quite problematic: While Huntsman, himself a Mormon, at least supported civil unions (and broke with Republican ranks to announce he publicly backed them in February), Herbert does not. To be sure, Herbert’s in the majority in Utah; some 70 percent of residents don’t support civil unions. And yes, Herbert is Mormon, too.

Also worth noting: Huntsman’s name has, like so many others, been floated as a possible 2012 Republican presidential candidate. In a sly move typical of presidents, Obama opted to appoint him ambassador to a faraway land, and make sure he’s thousands of miles away and unable to generate support for a White House bid.