Charles T. Moran, a vice chair with the California Log Cabin Republicans and a political consultant, wrote an email to fellows GOPs asking them to support Jon Huntsman for President, because he’s the most pro-gay of the GOP presidential candidates. In the letter [politico link], he made this statement:
Governor Huntsman signed into law Utah’s first Civil Unions legislation – a politically courageous move on his part given that state’s politics.
Reading that, wouldn’t you think it means that Jon Huntsman signed into law Utah’s first Civil Unions legislation, since that is exactly what it says?
Except that never happened. Utah doesn’t have civil unions, never has.
In 2008, Huntsman signed legislation expanding domestic partner benefits for Utah’s unmarried couples, including gays. But legislation legalizing civil unions never passed, making it impossible for Huntsman to sign it into law. And while he supported expanding hospital visitation rights and other “contractual” rights for gay couples, most of those initiatives died in the state Legislature.
It’s interesting to see a GOP running for president to the left of the field on LGBT issues, but this error needs correcting before a whole lot of lesbian and gay couples head to Mormon Temples in Utah to get civil-unioned. It’s not legal there, it never has been, and Jon Huntsman never signed a law making it legal in Utah.
UPDATE, via email:
Utah law states: “The following marriages are prohibited and declared void: … between persons of the same sex. … It is the policy of this state to recognize as marriage only the legal union of a man and a woman as provided in this chapter. Except for the relationship of marriage between a man and a woman recognized pursuant to this chapter, this state will not recognize, enforce, or give legal effect to any law creating any legal status, rights, benefits, or duties that are substantially equivalent to those provided under Utah law to a man and a woman because they are married.”
The Utah Constitution states: “Marriage consists only of the legal union between a man and a woman. No other domestic status or union, however denominated, between persons is valid or recognized or may be authorized, sanctioned or given the same or substantially equivalent legal effect as a marriage.”