Governor Takes on Gay Marriage, Reelection Ambitions in News Conference

Utah Governor Gary Herbert speaks to the media at a June 25, 2014, press conference.
Utah Governor Gary Herbert speaks to the media at a June 25, 2014, press conference.

(KCPW News) Utah Governor Gary Herbert held his monthly KUED press conference on Thursday, just a day after a critical Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling on same-sex marriage. The decision upholding a federal judge’s strike-down of Utah’s same-sex marriage ban is expected to go before the Supreme Court, as state officials such as the governor have expressed a desire to see the case through to its finality.

The governor doubled down on his strong preference to appeal to the Supreme Court, saying it’s simply a matter of protecting the state’s constitution and defending the will of Utah voters.

“If the law had been put on the books by the people through the legislative process or initiative, petition or whatever, that said that in Utah we would, in fact, allow same-sex marriage, I’d be defending that law today if somebody challenged it and was going through the process of the court,” Hebert said. “I don’t think we should pick and choose the laws that we enforce and have our personal opinions get in the way once the people have spoken. And they have in Utah.”

Perhaps overshadowed by the Tenth Circuit ruling on Wednesday were reports that the governor is indeed running for reelection in 2016. Herbert mostly confirmed those reports, but he qualified his decision with a nuanced response.

“I find it a little bit awkward that we’re talking about 2016, and we haven’t even finished the elections of 2014,” he said, “But with the encouragement and questions being asked, I told my supporters that it is my intention to run again in 2016.

“I’m certainly going to do what I need to do to put myself in a position to do that, but I did emphasize—and I’ll tell you—this is not a formal announcement. But it is my intention to run in 2016.”

In his ongoing negotiations with the Obama administration regarding his Healthy Utah plan, Herbert says about 26 out of “35 or 36” issues have been resolved, but more work needs to be done before he says he can present an “official plan” to the Utah legislature. The governor hopes for a vote on his Healthy Utah plan sometime this year.

Governor Herbert’s monthly news conference airs Sunday at 5:30 p.m. on KUED.

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