Utah governor’s comments on choice, sexual orientation draw criticism from LGBT advocates

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Forty-seven years ago, a young couple from Caroline County, Virginia became the faces of a landmark decision legalizing interracial marriage.

Today, the Supreme Court case of Loving v. Virginia has become part of the argument used in many gay marriage cases across the country, including Utah.

On Thursday, it prompted controversial remarks from Gov. Gary Herbert.

“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. So, I don’t think they’re exactly the same,” Gov. Herbert said.

In his monthly news conference, the governor was responding to a question about whether or not he agreed with the analogy that the ban on gay marriage is similar to the former ban on interracial marriage.

Initially, he said no, suggesting it was a choice to be gay.

“I think it’s unclear,” Herbert said. “I expect there may be different gradations. Clearly, the actions involved in sexual activity ultimately may end up being choices. What your attraction may be is something else, but how you act upon those impulses is a choice.”

The governor's answers prompted a harsh response from the LGBT community.

“Governor Herbert’s comments are tone deaf,” said Steven Ha, executive director of the Utah Pride Center.

During a press conference, Ha said he expected a state official to have a better understanding of the people he serves, even if he doesn’t agree with them.

“It reminds me of a default language to bigotry,” Ha said. “I felt hurt immediately because those languages seem to be coming from a lack of understanding.”

While Ha applauded other states for refusing to defend their bans on gay marriage, Gov. Herbert criticized them for ignoring the will of the people of their states.

“For elected officials, governors or attorney generals, to say, ‘Pick and choose which laws we’ll enforce,’ I think is a tragedy and is the next step to anarchy,” Herbert said. “We have an obligation as a state, as a governor, as the Attorney General’s Office, to defend those laws until those laws are changed.”

On Monday, a U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball ruled that Utah must recognize more than 1,200 same-sex marriages performed when the state’s ban was temporarily lifted.

“I applaud Judge Kimball from the standpoint that he had the wisdom to issue a stay against his judgment, 21 days, for us to take time to analyze it and to review and see what would be the appropriate action for the state to take,” Herbert said.

In the next couple of weeks, the governor plans to meet with Attorney General Sean Reyes to determine how to respond to the ruling.


  • Jim Cobabe

    “LGBT” advocates bump along from one outrage to the next. They seem to believe that nobody can express a single thought without their permission and approval. Currently they appear to be among the most intolerant and bigoted members of our society.

    • Jack

      Let me oppress you and deny you the right to live your life freely and pursue happiness as you see fit, let us publicly criticize you for things has no choice of and see how tolerant you would be towards your oppressors.

      We’re not, nor should anyone tolerate intolerance. Society doesn’t tolerate racism and sexism, likewise we’re not going to tolerate other forms of bigotry such as homophobia.

      • Bob

        When you speak of intolerance does that include the rant by Stuart McDonad or are we to assume that you agree with his comments?

      • Cartman

        There is a difference between tolerating people’s choices and lifestyles, and endorsing them. Marriage does not belong to government. It’s inappropriate for government to issue a “marriage license”, as such, to ANYONE. Government’s only concern should be the legal and financial aspects of a Civil Union contract, which should be available to any adult citizens.

        In fact, if we were all truly equal it wouldn’t make a bit of difference, other than to designate an heir and insurance beneficiaries, whether you’re “married” or not, or how many children you have. Everyone would be taxed the same.

      • Jack

        Well, the reality is the government does issue marriage licenses. Ever notice that whoever is officiating a wedding says “with the power invested in me by the state…”. Since the state does issue marriage lecenses then they have no right to deny them to certain classes of people based upon their prejudice. Which is why each ban has been struck down time and time again.

      • Bob

        Have you ever asked the same question about siamese twins, or children born with Down Syndrome? Yes, Mother Nature doesn’t play fair with everybody.

  • Stuart McDonald

    Mormon mafia mob boss Tommy “The Murderer” Monson is a pathetic weasel and coward, having his amoral and sociopathic thug agents like Utah Governor Gary Herbert, all the Republicans in the Utah State Legislature, and so many others do his dirty work for him so he can pretend that he and his fellow wealth and power worshiping, world-dominationist, white-supremacist racist, misogynist, anti-LGBT defaming and scapegoating, Nazi pseudo-religious mob captain “General Authorities” — with all their hands stained with the blood and destruction of countless innocents — aren’t involved. They and their organization are just a loyal arm of evil. They are not and will never be infallible, righteous, or Gods. They have all sold their souls for wealth, power and influence — and are now only evil incarnate who have brainwashed countless useful idiots — who grotesquely support them — into fatally misidentifying them for being representatives of a truly just and moral God and faithfully living and teaching what Jesus taught.

      • Bob

        If you look at his Facebook page you will see the reason for his mis-directed rage. The choices he made earlier if his life have come home to haunt him today. He only has two options: Blame himself or blame everybody else.

      • Cartman

        Jeez, you’re right, Bob! He’s definitely a hate-fueled fruitcake with a one-track mind.

        I love how he follows up his Mein Kampf diatribe with a lesson about what “Jesus taught.” LOL! Classic. You see, Jesus wants you to hate all the right people. It’s right there in the Bible.

    • Cartman

      Sad little person.

      Hate is ugly, Stuart. You’re nothing but a dirty little Nazi wannabe. Your kind is becoming extinct, thankfully.

  • We need to make a stand......

    Good job Governer !!!!! Time for states to seperate from the Federal misconduct!!

      • Bob

        Mother Nature is the judge, jury, and based on the number of sexually transmitted diseases we know of, Mother Nature even takes it one step further.

      • Jack

        Bob, you talk about “mother nature” as if that’s an actual person or being. And it’s rather shallow and simple minded if you think it’s all about $ex. The opponents to same $ex marriage think more about g@y $ex than g@y people do. Is that all you all think about? And we’re the ones that are perverts? If it was all about $ex, nobody would have the desire to get married. It’s about love, lifelong commitment, etc… Same as everyone else. Besides that, if you wanted to rid the world of g@y $ex, you’d should be in favor of same $ex marriage because nothing cuts down on $ex more than marriage.

      • Bob

        Like I said earlier Jack, Mother Nature has a way of cleansing the gene pool. Her methods can be harsh, and yes, she definitely can be the executioner. Those who practice monogamy don’t have to worry about the penalties attached to the anything goes lifestyle.

        We married folks concentrate on things like our son’s baseball game, our daughter’s dance team, and what we’re going to grill for dinner tonight.

  • Cartman

    The governor and the AG have a sworn duty to uphold and defend the Utah Constitution. Their personal opinions on the matter are irrelevant.

    • Jack

      Too bad for them that the US Constitution trumps the state constitution; unfortunately the state of Utah wants to waste millions if dollars to learn that lesson.

  • Angela

    Definition of liberty -” the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views”. The government doesn’t make this country the people do. I’m sure if the church needed a law passed no questions would be asked. Can I opt out of paying my taxes because he’s spending the money to try to take away my own rights?

  • one tired of high taxes

    I do not care who someone wants to be with. If someone wants this lifestyle fine don’t try to push it on me and I will not push mine on them. Why are you so scared of this lifestyle? Did you have a homosexual experience go wrong? What are you hiding about you? Are you afraid that skeleton will come out of your closet? You should spend your own money to enforce religion (Cult!) not my tax dollar. Stop wasting my money!!!

    • Bob

      The definition of hate, as defined by our good friends in San Francisco, is anybody that disagrees with their “anything goes” sexual code of misconduct.

  • Jack

    Bob, there’s a big difference with disagreeing with someone’s “lifestyle” and denying standing in the way of their rights. I’m not bothered by anyone that disagrees. It’s when people insists that someone lives by their beliefs of what is acceptable conduct using government force. That’s where we have the problem. You can disagree all you want…. You can stand at pride events with hateful signs, while you read from the bible on a bullhorn… it doesn’t bother me a bit. You have that right and I have no desire to take your rights away. But it’s no longer just a difference of opinion when you demand that the government forces everyone to live by your beliefs by law.

    • Bob

      I think Stuart McDonald’s comment above states the beliefs and attitudes of our friends from San Francisco perfectly. When it comes to hate for everything he disagrees with there can be no argument.

    • Jack

      I love how you and the others on your side play the victim and act as though you’re the one’s being oppressed. Very few people in this world have the character of Nelson Mandela or Gandhi so If you’re going to hate people, most of them are going to hate you back. Bigots deserve to be hated. Straight wealthy white christian males are losing their dominance over the country. They should be hoping and praying to their respective gods that they aren’t treated the way they treated others when they become the minority.

      • Bob

        Fortunately I don’t suffer in inferiority complex, never considered myself a victim, and can’t for the life of me see why anyone else would consider themselves to be victims. I don’t buy into the minority frame of mind, and feel sorry for those who do. Yes, Mother Nature plays dirty tricks from time to time but for the most part she she gets it right.

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