Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. was honored by Utah’s GLBT community at this year’s pride festival.
The Utah Pride Center and other organizations have picked Huntsman for the Pete Suazo Political Action Award.
Huntsman is the first Utah governor to openly support civil unions for same-sex couples.
Earlier this year, he also endorsed the Common Ground Initiative, a campaign for basic legal protections for gay and transgender Utahns that fizzled in the Legislature.
The award is named for the late state Sen. Pete Suazo, who worked for years to pass hate-crimes legislation in Utah.
A Utah gay couple may lose their kids because of their successful relationship. State wants single closeted gay men as parents
Three weeks ago, in Utah County, a niece asked her uncle to take her 4 kids. To care for them because she can’t. She’s dealing with drug-related criminal matters – and the kids are aged 11, 6, 2-years, and 10 months. The father’s not able to care for them either.
The uncle happens to be gay, and in a long term relationship. Michael Valdez and Michael Oberg have been together for about 5 years. They have steady jobs, a nice home, and no criminal record – but they aren’t allowed by law to take-in the needy kids.
Utah says that to adopt or be a foster parent, you must be legally married – or single – and not cohabiting. It doesn’t license foster couples who aren’t legally married. In other words, gay Uncle Valdez could foster or adopt if he wasn’t in a steady, thriving relationship. If he was “single”.
Officials asked the court to take custody of the kids or grant custody to the state’s Division of Child and Family Services. The Daily Herald reports that, on Friday, the courts took custody, then granted Valdez temporary custody of the children.
The judge said, “I see absolutely no reason why the kids can’t stay where they’re at.”
The 11-year-old child said, “I would rather live with my mom. But if I can’t, I’d rather live here.”
Michael is already a father. Gabrielle Valdez, his 17-year-old biological daughter, said that their home is like any other, complete with family dinners, concerns over school work and regular jobs.
Utah joins Florida and Mississippi with outright bans on gay parents.
According to KSL.com and Utah’s Division of Child and Family Services, there are 2,600 children in the state’s foster program.