GOP rebuff to Utah governor linked to civil unions

Posted on 30 Apr 2009 at 6:01pm
By Kathy Barks Hoffman Associated Press

Chair of conservative group applauds GOP county chair’s decision while state party officials scramble to find another venue for Hunstman

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Republicans scrambled to find other events for Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. to attend after a western Michigan GOP group withdrew its invitation.

Huntsman had been scheduled to speak to Kent County Republicans at the invitation of GOP county chairwoman Joanne Vorhees. But Vorhees changed her mind, apparently over Huntsman’s support for civil unions for gay couples.

Campaign for Michigan Families Chairman Gary Glenn said in statement that "Kent County’s principled stand sends a strong message nationwide that grass-roots conservatives will not embrace liberals who want to abandon the GOP platform’s commitment to traditional family values."

He urged Republicans in other counties to also cancel their events. But Huntsman apparently is welcome in other locations around Michigan, including heavily populated Oakland County northwest of Detroit.

Michigan Republican Party spokeswoman Jennifer Hoff confirmed Huntsman would be attending an Oakland County event, which Huntsman’s schedule lists as the Oakland County Lincoln Day dinner in Troy.

Hoff declined to comment on Vorhees’ action, saying only in a statement that "Michigan Republicans are excited to host Gov. Jon M. Huntsman Jr. … and listen to his ideas on education reform."

Huntsman’s spokeswoman, Lisa Roskelley, said the governor’s office received notice Saturday, April 25 that the Kent County invitation was being withdrawn. She said she’d have to double-check on the reason.

"We’ve already filled in the time he has available," she told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "He has about four or five events while he’s in Michigan. He’s had a lot of requests to speak at a lot of different organizations."

Huntsman has been mentioned as a possible GOP presidential candidate in 2012.

Associated Press Writer Brock Vergakis in Salt Lake City, Utah, contributed to this report.

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