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Utah gay marriage decision leads to pressure on Herbert to appoint Smith as AG

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The decision of a federal judge to strike down Utah’s Constitutional amendment that prohibits gay marriages has led to calls by social conservatives to bring pressure on Utah Governor Gary Herbert to appoint Bob Smith as Attorney General.

Herbert currently has three names submitted by the Republican Central Committee before him as a replacement for disgraced Attorney General John Swallow who resigned in early December. The Governor previously said that he wanted to announce the new Attorney General before Christmas.

Now, what originally appeared to be a relatively low-keyed selection process has been turned on its head by the judge’s ruling on gay marriage.

Social Conservatives are now fully engaged in the selection of the new Attorney General and have made it clear that their choice is Bob Smith who was the last candidate to apply for the position. Smith is currently the managing director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University (BYU).

In an e-mail to supporters, the Utah Eagle Forum called for an all-out effort to get Herbert to appoint Smith as the new Utah Attorney General. The Eagle Forum called on supporters to do four things:

  1. Send Governor Herbert an email encouraging him to appoint Bob Smith. In the subject line write, "SELECT BOB SMITH AS OUR NEW AG"
  2. Call the governor's office, 801-538-1000 or 800-705-2464.
  3. Drop by his office at the Capitol early Monday morning and leave a message for him.
  4. Forward this email to everyone you know

In addition, the Utah Eagle Forum squarely laid the blame on acting Attorney General, Brian Tarbet for “the social upheaval as homosexual marriages are being performed throughout the state as a result of his lack of foresight and timely action!”

"Clearly he is not the best man for the job!”, wrote the Eagle Forum

In addition, the organization, Celebration of Marriage, also threw its support behind Smith.

We need help encouraging Governor Herbert to appoint Bob Smith. Could you please email Governor Herbert this weekend, and call his office by monday (sic) morning?

No mention was made of the fact that the Attorney General’s legal strategy and arguments were largely developed under Attorney General John Swallow before his resignation or that Swallow was strongly supported by these same groups when he ran for office and initially when he came under scrutiny for improper activities.

Other social conservatives seized on the opportunity to raise funds.

Paul Mero of the Sutherland Institute quickly amended a fund raising letter to include reference to the ruling on gay marriage – “support for traditional marriage and the natural family requires even more of our time and resources,” wrote Mero.

And Cherilyn Eager, a former U.S. Congress and Senate candidate, told the recipients of her e-mail that “Utah is the number 1 targeted state in the nation for overturning constitutional amendments defining marriage between a man and a woman.” She then asked them to: “Please ... take just a brief moment to send a generous contribution of $25, $35, $50, $100 or more by clicking here.”

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