Huntsman Capitalizes On Civil Unions Support, Reaches Out To Utah Gay Republican Group

QSaltLake reports that Jon Huntsman is using his support for civil unions to reach out to LGBT organizations and voters in his home state of Utah:

While there are no official endorsements from any caucuses or groups within the Republican Party yet, the Utah Log Cabin Republicans worked with Huntsman when he was governor, and are ready and willing to work continue that relationship, Melvin Nimer, the president of the ULCR, said.

“Huntsman was the first governor of Utah to open up the governor’s mansion to the LGBT community,” Nimer said. “They [the Huntsman campaign team] have reached out to get some help from us and some people within the group are working with him.”

This isn’t the first time Huntsman has tried to capitalize on his “evolving” position on LGBT issues. Last month, a campaign consultant from the California chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans circulated a fundraising letter co-written by a Huntsman campaign employee falsely claiming that Huntmsan “signed into law Utah’s first Civil Unions legislation.” The former Utah governor did enact legislation expanding domestic partner benefits for Utah’s unmarried couples in 2008, but legislation legalizing civil unions never passed, making it impossible for Huntsman to sign it into law. And while he supported expanding hospital visitation rights and other “contractual” rights for gay couples, most of those initiatives died in the state Legislature.

Still, Huntsman is alone among the candidates for the Republican party’s 2012 presidential nomination to endorse civil union. He first embraced the policy in February 2009, despite supporting a constitutional amendment outlawing same-sex marriage in 2004.