Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman is officially in the race for the GOP nomination for president and he’s already running into controversy. In a report on Politico, reporter Maggie Haberman reports Huntsman fundraising team is already trying to raise money from gay donors.
A fundraising email from Charles T. Moran, vice chair of the California Log Cabin Republicans and a political consultant, puffs up the Utah governor’s street cred with the LGBT community with this line in a fundraising email:
“Governor Huntsman signed into law Utah’s first Civil Unions legislation – a politically courageous move on his part given that state’s politics.”
That claim is simply false. It is true that in 2009, Huntsman declared his support for civil unions, five years after he backed a state constitutional amendment that bans marriage and forbids recognition of any “other domestic union” that has the “same or substantially equivalent legal effect” as marriage. But civil unions never became law in Utah.
In 2008, Huntsman did sign a law, SB 299, that allowed local governments to have something like a domestic partnership registry as long as they did not describe it as a domestic partnership registry. That’s a far cry from a state civil unions law, which is still prohibited by a constitutional amendment that Huntsman supported.
It’s not the first time that his shifting stance on equality has caused controversy, even in Michigan. He was uninvited from a Kent County GOP fundraising dinner in April of 2009 for his stance on civil unions. Messenger reported then that Kent County GOP Chair Joanne Voorhees pulled the plug on the event. She told Mlive: “The voters want and expect us to stand on principle and return to our roots. Unfortunately, by holding an event with Governor Huntsman, we would be doing the exact opposite.”