Former Utah governor and 2012
presidential candidate Jon Huntsman on Thursday called on fellow
Republicans to embrace gay marriage.
In an op-ed in the American
Huntsman said the party of Lincoln “should stand with our best
tradition of equality and support full civil marriage for all
“[I]t's difficult to get people even
to consider your reform ideas if they think, with good reason, you
don't like or respect them. Building a winning coalition to tackle
the looming fiscal and trust deficits will be impossible if we
continue to alienate broad segments of the population. We must be
happy warriors who refuse to tolerate those who want Hispanic votes
but not Hispanic neighbors. We should applaud states that lead on
reforming drug policy. And, consistent with the Republican Party's
origins, we must demand equality under the law for all Americans.”
“Today we have an opportunity to do
more: conservatives should start to lead again and push their states
to join the nine others that allow all their citizens to marry. I've
been married for 29 years. My marriage has been the greatest joy of
my life. There is nothing conservative about denying other Americans
the ability to forge that same relationship with the person they
It is the first time Huntsman himself
has endorsed marriage equality. As late as last September, while
being honored by Equality Utah, the state's largest gay rights
advocate, Huntsman reiterated his support for civil unions.
Young Conservatives for the Freedom to
Marry applauded Huntsman for his support.
“Like a growing number of
conservatives, Jon Huntsman believes in fairness and freedom and has
come to agree that nothing short of marriage for same-sex couples can
fulfill these basic principles,” the group said in a statement.
“Ensuring the freedom to marry for gay and lesbian people promotes
America's conservative values of limited government, individual
responsibility, and our foundation of liberty and justice for all.
We urge other conservatives to complete their own journeys towards
support for the freedom to marry and to stand on the right side of