Marriage & Religious Liberty

I believe marriage is ordained of God and is properly between a man and a woman.  Until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled otherwise, marriage was always a state issue.  I believe it should still be a state issue.

When litigants challenged Utah’s Amendment 3 (the Utah Constitution amendment which defined marriage as between a man and a woman), I formed the First Freedom political action committee (now known as Promote Liberty) to promote protection of religious liberties.  I worked with members of the state legislature in an effort to amend the Utah Constitution to ensure that the government cannot force a church or its clergy to perform any religious ceremony or rite in a manner contrary to the church’s stated tenets.  However, legislative leaders tabled this effort during the Amendment 3 lawsuit because they feared the effort to protect religious liberties might hurt the state’s case.

As governor, I will renew this effort.  I firmly believe in staunchly protecting First Amendment rights.  It is important that religious institutions and believers be able to practice their religion free from government interference and to participate in public discourse.

As I took a lead role in defending religious liberty in Utah, the Human Rights Campaign (the nation’s largest LGBTQ lobbying group) called for my resignation and sent a letter to every member of the Overstock.com board demanding that I be fired from Overstock.com.  This did not deter my efforts.  And Overstock.com founder’s, despite disagreeing with my position on same sex marriage, defended me in exercising my First Amendment rights.

Against my strong protests, Overstock.com has sponsored the Salt Lake Gay Pride parade.  This was the decision of the founder, many members of the management team and some members of the board who support same sex marriage.  I did not and do not support this decision.  For Governor Herbert to assert that I support same sex marriage is like saying every member of his cabinet supports his tax increases, his Medicaid expansion proposals and the Common Core standards he champions.