Utah Governor Gary Herbert on Thursday
criticized state leaders in other states who have decided not to
defend their bans on gay marriage.
Oregon and Pennsylvania this week
joined 17 other states, plus the District of Columbia, where gay
couples can marry after federal judges struck down marriage bans.
Oregon refused to defend the state's ban in court, while Pennsylvania
Governor Tom Corbett decided against pursuing an appeal.
The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in
Denver is reviewing an appeal to a lower court's order declaring
invalid Utah's 2004 voter-approved ban.
Speaking to reporters Thursday, Herbert
called those decision not to defend bans the “next step to
“For elected officials, governors or
attorney generals, to pick and choose what laws [they] will enforce I
think is a tragedy, and is the next step to anarchy,” Herbert told
reporters on Thursday. “We have an obligation as a state to defend
Herbert was also asked whether he sees
a similarity between marriage bans based on sexual orientation and
those based on race.
“What you choose to do with your
sexual orientation is different in my mind than what you're born with
as far as your race,” Herbert answered.
He also suggested that he believes
being gay is a choice.
“I think it's unclear,” Herbert
said. “I expect there may be different gradations. Clearly the
actions involved in sexual activity ultimately end up being choices.
What your attraction may be is something else, but how you act upon
those impulses is a choice. But that's not for me to make that
decision and consideration.”
“My job is to represent the people of
Utah and follow the law that we have on the books,” he added. (The
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