By Julie Bolcer
Originally published on Advocate.com August 28 2009 8:15 PM ET
Utah governor Gary Herbert (pictured) said on Thursday that he does not believe sexual orientation should be a protected class from discrimination in the way race, gender, and religion are, reports the Associated Press.
"We don't have to have a rule for everybody to do the right thing. We ought to just do the right thing because it's the right thing to do and we don't have to have a law that punishes us if we don't," said Herbert at a KUED news conference, according to the AP.
Herbert, a Republican who served as lieutenant governor to Jon Huntsman, took over this month after Huntsman left to take an appointed position as U.S. ambassador to China.
Last year, Huntsman supported a package of legislative proposals, which did not pass, to protect LGBT people from discrimination. He also expressed support for same-sex civil unions.
Herbert appears to hold a different attitude. He said that naming sexual orientation as a protected class against discrimination would put Utah on a “slippery slope” and burden the government with “minutiae.”
"Where do you stop? I mean, that's the problem going down that slippery road. Pretty soon we're going to have a special law for blue-eyed blonds ... or people who are losing their hair a little bit," Herbert said, according to the AP. "There's some support for about anything we put out there. I'm just saying we end up getting bogged down sometimes with the minutiae of things that government has really no role to be involved in."
Despite his statements, Herbert declined to commit to a position on a Salt Lake City ordinance likely to be adopted that would ban discrimination against LGBT people in employment and housing. Republicans in the state legislature have suggested they may attempt to block the ordinance.