The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 6. To find your polling location or to see a sample ballot, go to vote.utah.gov. Below are some of the Utah candidates’ positions on queer rights. For a full list of candidates endorsed by Equality Utah, go here.
Republican: Orrin Hatch
The six-term senator said this will be the last time he runs for election and promises to use his influence for more fiscal responsibility in the government. Hatch has co-sponsored anti-gay amendments in the past and said he strongly supports defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman. He received a 0 percent rating from the Human Rights Campaign.
Democrat: Scott Howell
Howell said he would support a measure to protect against bias based on sexual orientation and gender identity, but does not support marriage equality. He was endorsed by Equality Utah, but his personal view is that marriage is a union between one man and one woman, and gay couples do not deserve the same protections.
Congressional District 1
Republican: Rob Bishop
Bishop has a long history of opposing marriage equality and other queer rights legislation, including nondiscrimination protections. In 2004, he voted for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. In 2007, he voted against offering job protections for queer Americans and he has received a 0 percent approval rating from the HRC.
Democrat: Donna McAleer
McAleer has been advocating for equal rights in various forms for decades. She saw the military’s anti-gay policy as discriminatory and unacceptable and joined Knights Out, an organization of West Point alumni who support the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender soldiers to openly serve their country. In a series of articles written for foreignpolicy.com, she iterated her stance against the discriminatory policy which banned gays and lesbians from serving openly. She is also an outspoken advocate for equal treatment of women in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Making no qualms about her complete and thorough backing of gay marriage, McAleer said, “I support marriage equality. Period.”
Congressional District 2
Republican: Chris Stewart
Stewart proudly touts his conservative credentials and is focusing his campaign on economic issues. However, he has taken time during debates to say he does not support marriage equality. Repeated attempts to contact Stewart and his campaign were ignored.
Democrat: Jay Seegmiller
In 2008, Seegmiller ran against and defeated sitting Utah House Speaker Greg Curtis. While his team did not return repeated requests for interviews and email questions, his website says he supports extending nondiscrimination and visitation rights to gays and lesbians. He said in a debate with his opponent that he believes marriage should be reserved for heterosexual couples.
Congressional District 3
Republican: Jason Chaffetz
Despite his purported states’ rights credentials, Chaffetz has led the fight to overturn gay marriage in areas that have legalized marriage equality. He vocally defends his position calling for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman. After Washington, D.C. legalized same-sex marriage, Chaffetz led the fight to overturn the city council’s decision. He was unsuccessful in his attempts.
Democrat: Soren Simonsen
The Salt Lake City councilman is fighting a gigantic battle and trying to unseat incumbent Chaffetz, who was last elected with nearly 70 percent of the vote. Simonsen is very vocal about his support of marriage equality and said he is very proud to be endorsed by Equality Utah.
Congressional District 4
Republican: Mia Love
The mayor of Saratoga Springs is the daughter of Haitian immigrants and is in an interracial marriage (her husband is Caucasian). While expressing her conservative credentials, she has yet to answer why she opposes gay marriage when her own union would have been outlawed just 50 years ago. She has refused to answer questions about her positions on workplace or housing protections for queer Americans. She also said she would support reinstating the military’s ban on gays and lesbians from serving openly.
Democrat: Jim Matheson
Matheson’s strong stance for equal treatment in the military stands in stark contrast to his position on the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act and his vocal support of passing a resolution to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. In 2004 and 2006, Matheson voted for bills that would have altered the U.S. Constitution to bar gay marriage from being recognized. He also said he supports DOMA, the 1996 law that has been struck down by federal and appellate courts as unconstitutional. It bars the federal government from recognizing gay marriage and effectively stops gay couples from receiving the same tax credits as straight couples, and it has resulted in the deportation of gay individuals whose state-sanctioned marriages were not recognized by the federal government. The HRC ranked him with a 5 percent approval score.
Republican: Gary Herbert
In addition to opposing gay marriage and civil unions, Herbert has shied away from backing basic nondiscrimination protections for queer Utahns. He brought New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as a keynote speaker for his annual gala dinner. Christie vetoed a bill legalizing gay marriage in the Garden State earlier this year.
Herbert said in August 2009 that anti-bias measures for queer Utahns were unnecessary.
“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.
Democrat: Peter Cooke
Cooke has voiced his support for anti-bias protections being extended to all Utahns and even said he would support second-parent adoptions. However, he recently held a press conference to alert all Utahns that he does not support marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples.
Salt Lake County Mayor
Republican: Mark Crockett
The former Salt Lake County councilman chose not to participate in an interview with QSaltLake.
Democrat: Ben McAdams
The Fabby Award-winning politician is a strong ally to the queer community. While serving in the state legislature he sponsored a statewide nondiscrimination ordinance and other queer-friendly bills. He also helped engineer the domestic partnership registry used by Salt Lake City.
Other National Ballot Measures
Washington Referendum 74
Voters in Washington will decide whether to uphold a law legalizing gay marriage in November. With recent polls indicating more than 50 percent of Washington residents want gay marriage legalized, gay rights activists are optimistic that same-sex couples will be saying, “I do,” very soon.
Maine Referendum 1
After a disappointing defeat for marriage equality in 2009, the option to legalize same-sex marriage is back on the ballot. Recent polls indicate an enormous lead for gay marriage supporters and 53 percent of Maine residents say they support gay marriage.
Maryland Referendum 6
In Maryland, 54 percent of residents say they’ll support a law legalizing gay marriage and just 40 percent say they oppose the measure. Gay marriage supporters are starting to gain more momentum than earlier this year.
Voters are deciding whether or not to amend the state constitution to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Polling has the issue too close to call.