Utah does not recognize gay couples with civil unions; that fact, however, hasn't stopped gay GOPer Charles T. Moran from claiming that former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, who on Tuesday officially jumped into the 2012 race for the White House as a Republican, signed such legislation into law during his tenure as governor.

“Governor Huntsman signed into law Utah’s first Civil Unions legislation — a politically courageous move on his part given that state’s politics. While Governor, he also invited the local Log Cabin Republicans leadership to a sit-down at the Governor’s mansion — again another first for an LGBT-oriented organization in the state,” Moran, president of the California Log Cabin Republicans, wrote in a fundraising letter to supporters published by POLITICO.com.

In 2009, Huntsman took a position in support of extending some rights to gay men and lesbians, including a pair of bills that would have created a domestic partnership registry for gay couples by repealing a part of Utah's voter-approved constitutional marriage amendment. But the effort, backed by Utah Equality, the state's largest gay rights group, and two openly gay lawmakers, died in committee without the support of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons).

Huntsman has “talked the talk, and walked the walk — Governor Huntsman is not only the right choice to lead our nation, he is unique in his desire to have a fully inclusive campaign. This is a prime opportunity to publically stand forward with our candidate and present America, and LGBT-Americans an alternative choice,” Moran continued.

The 51-year-old Huntsman formally declared for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination at a press conference held in New Jersey near the Statue of Liberty.

“For the first time in our history, we are passing down to the next generation a country that is less powerful, less compassionate, less competitive and less confident than the one we got,” Huntsman said of his reasons to seek the Oval Office. “This, ladies and gentlemen, is totally unacceptable and totally un-American.”

Huntsman, a Mormon, resigned during his second term as governor of Utah to accept President Barack Obama's appointment as Ambassador to China, a post he left in April.

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 openly 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, former Godfather's 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.