Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr.
will formally declare for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination on
“I intend to announce that I will be
a candidate for the presidency a week from today,” Huntsman said at
an event yesterday.
Huntsman will make his announcement
near the Statue of Liberty, Reuters reported.
The 51-year-old Huntsman resigned
during his second term as governor of Utah to accept President Barack
Obama's appointment as Ambassador to China, a post he left on April
As governor, Huntsman backed a failed
effort to extend some rights to gay men and lesbians in Utah. In
2009, the gay rights group Equality Utah introduced five bills backed
by two openly gay lawmakers. Three bills would have brought greater
equality in the areas of hospitalization, medical care, housing,
employment and probate rights. And a pair of bills would have
created a domestic partner registry for gay couples by repealing a
part of Utah's constitutional marriage amendment. Without the
support of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the
Mormons) the effort died in committee.
Huntsman's support for gay rights, in
particular civil unions, puts him in the minority among the 9
declared candidates. While former
New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson also supports civil unions, and
gay Fred Karger supports gay marriage, five candidates –
Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick
Santorum, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, former
Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt
Gingrich – support
an amendment to the constitution that would ban gay marriage,
Pizza CEO Herman Cain has said being gay is a “sin,” and
Texas Rep. Ron Paul does not support government recognition of gay
and lesbian unions.