Jon Huntsman Supports Gay Marriage, Urges Republicans To Do The Same

John Huntsman has changed his opinion on gay marriage.

The former GOP presidential candidate, who was against extending equal rights to same-sex couples as late as 2011, said today in an article for The American Conservative that it was important for conservatives to start pushing for gay marriage.

Huntsman writes:

“Conservatives should start to lead again and push their states to join the nine others that allow all their citizens to marry. I’ve been married for 29 years. My marriage has been the greatest joy of my life. There is nothing conservative about denying other Americans the ability to forge that same relationship with the person they love. All Americans should be treated equally by the law, whether they marry in a church, another religious institution, or a town hall. This does not mean that any religious group would be forced by the state to recognize relationships that run counter to their conscience. Civil equality is compatible with, and indeed promotes, freedom of conscience.”

The Ticket notes that Huntsman has long been in favor for civil unions but stopped short of supporting gay marriage. In 2011, Huntsman said that it would be “impossible” to “redefine marriage.”

But the Utah Governor has had a change of heart. Huntsman said that equal rights is a traditional conservative value and that the Republican party should support gay marriage.

Huntsman said:

“(Not only is that) the right thing to do … But the American people will not hear us out if we stand against their friends, family and individual liberty.”

Are you surprised to hear John Huntsman’s views on gay marriage? Do you think the Republican party should listen to him?