Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman on Thursday urged the Republican Party to embrace marriage equality, calling it a conservative cause that the GOP needs to champion in order to maintain its appeal to the American electorate.
"The party of Lincoln should stand with our best tradition of equality and support full civil marriage for all Americans," the former Republican presidential candidate wrote in an op-ed in the American Conservative magazine.
"This is both the right thing to do and will better allow us to confront the real choice our country is facing: a choice between the Founders’ vision of a limited government that empowers free markets, with a level playing field giving opportunity to all, and a world of crony capitalism and rent-seeking by the most powerful economic interests," he wrote.
Americans will not coalesce around Republicans' free market ideas, Huntsman argued, "if we stand against their friends, family, and individual liberty."
As governor, Huntsman pushed for civil unions for civil unions in Utah. In August 2011, Huntsman stood by civil unions in an interview with CNN but said “I believe in traditional marriage" and “I don’t think you can redefine marriage from the traditional sense.” In September of last year, Huntsman said America should move toward "equality under the law" but that it should be done on a state-by-state basis.