Former GOP presidential candidate Huntsman backs gay marriage

Thu Feb 21, 2013 6:07pm EST

Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman speaks at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina January 16, 2012. REUTERS/Chris Keane

Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman speaks at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina January 16, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Chris Keane

(Reuters) - Former Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman voiced support for gay marriage on Thursday, reversing his position and urging the Republican Party to be more supportive of gays and lesbians who want to marry.

Huntsman, a former U.S. ambassador to China and governor of Utah widely viewed as a moderate, made the announcement in an op-ed piece published online in The American Conservative magazine.

"I've been married for 29 years. My marriage has been the greatest joy of my life," he wrote. "There is nothing conservative about denying other Americans the ability to forge that same relationship with the person they love."

His comments appeared in an article titled "Marriage Equality Is a Conservative Cause."

"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," Huntsman wrote.

Nine of the 50 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia have legalized gay marriage. Maryland was the most recent, with gay marriage becoming legal there on January 1.

Huntsman backed civil unions for gays and lesbians when he was governor of Utah. While he ran for the Republican presidential nomination, Huntsman told CNN, "I don't think you can redefine marriage from the traditional sense."

Huntsman abandoned his bid for the Republican nomination in January 2012 after his campaign failed to gain traction and he finished third in the New Hampshire primary.

(Reporting by Kevin Gray; Editing by Paul Thomasch and Andrew Hay)

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Comments (4)
Gigimoderate wrote:
And he also believes in climate change…..science! A Republican I could vote for…..

Feb 21, 2013 9:37pm EST  --  Report as abuse
SteveMD2 wrote:
itss the party leadership that is out of it mentally. He may be a decent guy but look at whats happening in congress.
I wonder if he is mormon. – they are except for a smaLL number totally against gays marrying because to them the traditional family is everything.

Feb 21, 2013 10:55pm EST  --  Report as abuse
fromthecenter wrote:
This guy was the only one I would have considered when the clown circus they called the republican primaries was in full bloom. He seemed intelligent, thoughtful and well balanced. He had NO chance.

Feb 22, 2013 7:05am EST  --  Report as abuse
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California state worker Albert Jagow (L) goes over his retirement options with Calpers Retirement Program Specialist JeanAnn Kirkpatrick at the Calpers regional office in Sacramento, California October 21, 2009. Calpers, the largest U.S. public pension fund, manages retirement benefits for more than 1.6 million people, with assets comparable in value to the entire GDP of Israel. The Calpers investment portfolio had a historic drop in value, going from a peak of $250 billion in the fall of 2007 to $167 billion in March 2009, a loss of about a third during that period. It is now around $200 billion. REUTERS/Max Whittaker   (UNITED STATES) - RTXPWOZ

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