UT Gov. Gary Herbert: It Should Be Perfectly Legal To Discriminate Against Gays

I should have blogged about it at the time, but there was a lot of concern a few weeks ago when President Obama appointed Utah’s gay-friendly Gov. Jon Huntsman to be his ambassador to China. It turns out that fears about Huntsman’s successor were well founded.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said Thursday that discriminating against gay people shouldn’t be illegal, although he would prefer it if everyone were treated with respect. In his most definitive comments yet on gay rights, Herbert told reporters he doesn’t believe sexual orientation should be a protected class in the way that race, gender and religion are. “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,” Herbert said in his first monthly KUED news conference. In Utah, it is legal to fire someone for being gay or transgender. The gay rights advocacy group Equality Utah has been trying to change state law for several years but has always been rebuffed by the Republican-controlled Legislature.

First of all, Herbert’s asshattery is precisely why we need ENDA. Secondly, I’m not too pleased with the way the AP headlined this story as “Utah Governor: No Special Rights For Gay People.” Maybe the people at the Associated Press think the right not to be fired from your job because of who you are is “special.”