Utah Governor Gary Herbert is being
asked to apologize for suggesting being gay is a choice and
criticizing other state leaders for allowing rulings striking down
gay marriage bans to stand.
Gay and lesbian couples last week
started marrying in Oregon and Pennsylvania after federal judges
handed down separate rulings declaring each state's ban invalid.
Oregon refused to defend the its ban in court, while Pennsylvania
Governor Tom Corbett decided against pursuing an appeal.
On Thursday, Herbert reiterated his
administration's commitment to defending Utah's ban in a separate
federal case currently before an appeals court.
“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. “We have an obligation as a state to defend those
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.”
John Netto, head of Utah Pride Center's
board, called Herbert's comments hurtful.
“To suggest that allowing gay
marriage is the foundation of anarchy, to us, is hate speech,”
Netto told The
Salt Lake Tribune. “We think he's uneducated … on
current scientific positions in regard to human sexuality.”
“We are quite confident that the 18
or 19 states that have legal marriage are not in a state of anarchy,
and there has been no damage done to heterosexual marriage. We
absolutely think he should apologize, and we think he should reach
out and we think he should get some education.”