Former Utah Governor and 2012 presidential candidate Jon Huntsman is speaking out in favor of same-sex marriage, saying it's actually a very conservative idea.
In an op-ed for The American Conservative, Huntsman writes about pushing for civil unions and equality for the LGBTQ community as Governor of Utah.
Now, the Republican adds, it's time for his party to step up.
“Conservatives should start to lead again on this issue and push their states to join the nine others that allow all their citizens to marry,” he writes.
“There is nothing conservative about denying other Americans the ability to forge that same relationship with the person they love."
"This is both the right thing to do and will better allow us to confront the real choice our country is facing: a choice between the Founders’ vision of a limited government that empowers free markets, with a level playing field giving opportunity to all, and a world of crony capitalism and rent-seeking by the most powerful economic interests.”
Huntsman’s gay marriage stance is not only surprising in how it's framed - as a conservative concept - but a symbolic step forward for both Republicans and Mormons.
Spencer W. Clark, executive director of Mormons for Marriage Equality, said:
“Over the last several years we have been seeing more and more Mormons from across the political spectrum come out in support of marriage equality."
"I am thrilled that Gov. Huntsman has taken this stand and hope that it will prompt other Mormons to join in building stronger families by ensuring that same-sex couples and their children have access to the same protection and benefits under the law that my family has.”
Huntsman’s advocacy comes a day after a new ad from the Respect for Marriage Coalition debuted a bipartisan ad featuring conservative and liberal leaders.
The TV ad, which began airing Wednesday, features President Obama, Colin Powell, and Dick Cheney. Former First Lady Laura Bush was removed from the ad.