The Utah Pride Center announced today that they are requesting a formal apology from Governor Gary Herbert in light of comments he made during a press conference last week wherein he stated during a monthly press conference with KUED that “[w]hat you choose to do with your sexual orientation is different in my mind than what you’re born with as far as your race.” Herbert continued that “What your attraction may be is something else, but how you act upon those impulses is a choice.”
During this same press conference, Herbert also stated that “For elected officials, governors or attorney generals, to pick and choose what laws [they] will enforce I think is a tragedy, and is the next step to anarchy.” Herbert was referencing the decision by Pennsylvanian officials to not fight the overturning of their version of Amendment 3 banning same-sex marriage.
In a press release, the Pride Center said that “Governor Herbert says his job is to represent the people of Utah. He does not represent us. His irresponsible claims fly in the face of all established science in the area of sexuality and continue to push a 19th century view of the world. This abuse of authority harms an already marginalized group, and shows a complete lack of understanding of the issue and due process. Gov. Herbert’s comments are tone-deaf given the number of court cases and rulings presented not only in Utah, but around the Country.”
[pullquote]If anyone represents an agent of Anarchy, it is the Governor. – Utah Pride Center[/pullquote]The statement continued, stating that “If anyone represents an agent of Anarchy, it is the Governor. He refuses to recognize medical and psychological science, he refuses to recognize public opinion, he refuses to recognize the authority of the courts, and he refuses to recognize the constitution of the United States of America.”
The letter, which can be viewed here, calls for a meeting between Herbert and the Pride Center and members of the LGBTQ community in an attempt to educate Herbert on “the hurt caused by [Herbert’s] remarks.”
Herbert’s views, which reflect the formal opinion of the LDS Church, run counter to what many LGBTQ individuals and supporters feel, and marks growing escalation in tensions as the state nears a decision from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn Judge Shelby’s decision that overturned Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage.
Herbert’s comments also came on the heals of the Utah Supreme Court putting a halt on same-sex adoptions while legal issues are resolved between the Utah Department of Health and gay couples who claim that their marriages should be honored, allowing them to apply for second-parent adoptions.