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Democratic gubernatorial candidate Peter Cooke declared his opposition to same-sex marriage, vowing to represent "Utah values": "To me gay marriage is part of my religious belief and I support that" ("Cooke distances himself from Dems on gay marriage, abortion," Tribune, Aug. 14).

This position would be all well and good if Cooke, a Mormon, were running for stake president or apostle, but he is running to be governor of one the states of the United States, which is under civil law, not religious law.

In a civil society under civil law, religious beliefs cannot be legislated onto others to control behavior that infringes on the rights of no one. Take the Bible and other religious texts out of the equation and there is no cogent argument against marriage equality in a civil society.

As an elected leader, a governor represents all citizens, not just those with whom he shares religious beliefs. He is obligated to protect the rights of everyone.

Instead of vowing to represent his personal religious beliefs, Cooke ought to vow to support the U.S. Constitution, including the 14th Amendment's right to equal protection of the laws.

Michael Moroni Brown


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