Gary Herbert Hub

Utah Governor Gary Herbert Signs LGBT Nondiscrimination Protections into Law

As expected, Utah Governor Gary Herbert has signed a bill adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the state's nondiscrimination laws in housing and employment, Utah's NPR station KUER reports:

HerbertSB 296 makes clear religious organizations and their affiliates cannot be forced to perform gay marriages, and no one can be evicted or fired for expressing their religious beliefs. Governor Herbert said that strikes a fair balance.

“And I do believe that what we’ve done here will become a model for the rest of the country of how they too can resolve these issues in their own respective states as we find the right balance necessary to discourage discrimination while protecting religious liberty,” Herbert said.

Protections under new law will take effect in July. 

National Center for Lesbian Rights Executive Director Kate Kendell defended the bill in a Facebook post yesterday, saying it was the right move for Utah but shouldn't be viewed as a model for other states to follow:



LGBT Group Accuses Utah Gov. Herbert of ‘Hate Speech’, Demands Apology Over 'Anarchy’ Remarks


Utah Governor Gary Herbert is under fire for controversial comments made Thursday at a news conference in which he called other states’ decision not to defend their same-sex marriage bans the “next step toward anarchy”

Via The Salt Lake Tribune:

"To suggest that allowing gay marriage is the foundation of anarchy, to us, is hate speech," said John Netto, who heads the Utah Pride Center board. "We think he is uneducated ... on current scientific positions in regard to human sexuality."

Herbert was also criticized for implying that homosexuality is a choice at the news conference.

Asked about the oft-used comparison between banning same-sex marriage and once-illegal interracial marriage, Herbert said: "What you choose to do with your sexual orientation is different than what you’re born with as your race."

Herbert later backed off, saying there may be "different gradations" in sexuality.

Herbert’s office did not respond Friday evening to calls for comment.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert: Officials Refusing to Defend Gay Marriage Bans Court ‘Anarchy’ - VIDEO

Screen Shot 2014-05-24 at 1.22.25 PM

Utah governor Gary Herbert isn’t too pleased with elected officials like Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett and Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum for refusing to fight rulings against their states' bans on same-sex marriage in court. In fact, Herbert is convinced these officials are a threat to democracy itself.

The Advocate reports:

“For elected officials, governors, and attorneys general, to say pick and choose which laws they will enforce, I think, is a tragedy and the next step toward anarchy,” Herbert said Thursday at his monthly press conference, televised by public TV station KUED.

Herbert was referring to decisions in states such as Oregon and Pennsylvania, where governors and attorneys general have either not defended marriage bans in court at all or declined to appeal judicial decisions striking them down. Both states saw their bans voided by federal judges this week.

“I find it very disappointing,” he said of these officials’ actions. “Voices here in our community, media and others, ought to, in fact, call them on the carpet and say, ‘You have a responsibility to defend the law that’s been put on the books by the people.’”

And what of the responsibility of these public officials to call out these bans for what they really are - unconstitutional?

Watch Herbert's news conference, in which he goes on to waffle on the question of whether or not being gay is a "choice," AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Utah Gov. Gary Herbert: Officials Refusing to Defend Gay Marriage Bans Court ‘Anarchy’ - VIDEO" »

HRC Calls on Feds to Recognize Utah Same-Sex Marriages; ACLU Prepares Lawsuit

The Human Rights Campaign today called on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to ensure that the marriages of more than 1300 gay couples who married before the SCOTUS stay are recognized by the federal government, the Salt Lake Tribune reports:

HolderIn a letter delivered to Holder Thursday, the civil rights organization said there is no "legal reason to question the validity" of marriages that occurred between Dec. 20 and Jan. 6, when the U.S. Supreme Court stayed a federal judge’s ruling overturning Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage.

The letter pointed out Utah Gov. Gary Herbert initially directed state agencies to recognize the marriages.

"Even though the governor’s office has now made a political decision to cut off this recognition, it continues to insist that it makes no pronouncement about the validity of these unions," wrote Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). "There is simply no reason for the United States government not to extend federal recognition to these more than 1,300 couples."

HRC also sent a letter to attorneys general in 17 states where same-sex marriage is legal, calling on them to recognize the Utah marriages.

The Department of Justice is reviewing Herbert's decision to put the marriages on hold.

BakerSupport for marriage equality in Utah is at a record high, the Washington Blade reports:

A recent consumer survey conducted in Utah reveals that support for same-sex marriage in the state was at an all-time high last week just before the Supreme Court halted the weddings with a stay.

The poll, conducted using Google’s digital platform polling system, found that support for same-sex marriage reached 41 percent as of last week. Although the poll shows a majority of Utah voters have yet to embrace marriage equality, the result demonstrates a 13-point increase in support over two years when compared to an earlier poll from Brigham Young University.

David Baker (pictured), a Mormon and gay D.C. activist, said he ran the poll in the aftermath of the federal district court ruling in Utah in favor of marriage equality for more updated data on the state’s support for same-sex nuptials.

UtahThe ACLU is planning a lawsuit against Utah for putting marriages on hold, TPM reports:

The ACLU called for plaintiffs on Wednesday, and got "overwhelming interest" from couples who were married before the stay was granted.

"We have a great pool and we are working through that, and plan to bring litigation that will protect all marriages, whether the couples are named plaintiffs or not," the ACLU said in a statement.

In a letter to Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes on Wednesday, ACLU of Utah legal director John Mejia called on the state to recognize the same-sex marriages performed before the stay.

"In short, these marriages are valid and have vested the married couples with rights that the state and federal governments must recognize. Utah and the federal government should thus accord same-sex couples who married in Utah all of the same protections and obligations that married couples of the opposite sex receive," he wrote. "When these couples married, they immediately obtained all of the same protections and obligations enjoyed by all of the other married couples in Utah."

Meanwhile, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes is telling county clerks to complete the paperwork for same-sex marriages performed before the SCOTUS stay, the AP reports:

Reyes' spokeswoman Missy Larsen says the office is notifying counties Thursday afternoon...Larsen says Reyes' new directive was issued to clear up some confusion and only applies to marriages that were solemnized.

And The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) announced today that it was joining the law firm of Magleby & Greenwood, P.C., as counsel for the plaintiff couples in Kitchen v. Herbert, the case which went before Judge Shelby and has been appealed to the Tenth Circuit:

The case was brought by three same-sex couples in Utah: Derek Kitchen and Moudi Sbeity; Karen Archer and Kate Call; and Laurie Wood and Kody Partridge. On December 20, 2013, U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby ruled that Utah’s ban on marriage by same-sex couples violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process of law. The Tenth Circuit has ordered an expedited briefing schedule, with briefing to be completed by February 25, 2014.

Said Peggy Tomsic of Magleby & Greenwood, P.C.: “We believe it is in our clients’ best interest now that the case is on appeal, and particularly since it is on an expedited briefing schedule, to have a national organization with significant experience litigating and winning marriage equality cases to enhance our perspective and fire-power as we move forward.

We also wanted a national organization that has a real connection with Utah. Kate Kendell, NCLR’s Executive Director, was raised in Utah, worked here as a lawyer for many years, and has a daughter living here who finally had the opportunity to marry the love of her life when Judge Shelby issued his ruling.

I have known Kate for years. I know she and NCLR are committed to bringing equality to every gay and lesbian citizen in this country, and I know that Kate will work tirelessly to bring equality to her home state.”

Utah Says It Won't Recognize Validity of Gay Marriages Performed Before SCOTUS Stay

Utah Governor Gary Herbert announced on Wednesday that the state would not recognize same-sex marriages performed before the Supreme Court issued a stay on Judge Robert Shelby's ruling striking down the state's ban, the Salt Lake Tribune reports:

HerbertIn a letter to state agencies, Derek Miller, chief of staff to Gov. Gary Herbert, said those marriages will be "on hold" while it appeals the decision by U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby.

Please understand this position is not intended to comment on the legal status of those same-sex marriages," the letter said. "That is for the courts to decide."

With a stay in place, the original laws governing marriage in Utah are again in effect.

"Wherever individuals are in the process of availing themselves of state services related to same-sex marital status, that process is on hold and will stay exactly in that position until a final court decision is issued," the letter said.

Utah's attorney general Sean Reyes says the state has been unable to determine the "ultimate validity" of the marriages and will let the Court decide. Meanwhile, state agencies are being advised by a review team on what action they should take.

Read the full text of the letter, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Utah Says It Won't Recognize Validity of Gay Marriages Performed Before SCOTUS Stay" »

Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert Takes No Immediate Action To Stop Gay Marriages But Vows To Defend Traditional Marriage

6a00d8341c730253ef0120a61fab5b970c-800wiIn response to Judge Robert J. Shelby's historic decision today, striking down Utah's Amendment 3, which banned gay marriage in Utah, effectively legalizing gay marriage, Utah's Governor Gary R. Herbert expressed his dismay and vowed to continue to defend traditional marriage:

"I am very disappointed an activist federal judge is attempting to override the will of the people of Utah. I am working with my legal counsel and the acting Attorney General to determine the best course to defend traditional marriage within the borders of Utah."

The announcement is not a surprise coming from a Governor who previously insisted that denying marriage equality does not discriminate against LGBT citizens.


Towleroad - Blogged