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Rolly: Utah County GOP shuns gay-friendly conservative?

Published January 8, 2013 9:58 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Utah County GOP Vice Chairwoman Bonnie Morrow asked her brother, tea party leader and former gubernatorial candidate David Kirkham, for help finding a well-known Republican to give the keynote speech at the county's Lincoln Day Dinner Feb. 9.

So Kirkham emailed his friend Glenn Reynolds, a popular conservative blogger, contributor to Fox News and professor at the University of Tennessee, who was more than happy to participate. He said he would speak free of charge, and Kirkham volunteered to pay for his airplane ticket.

But after county chairman David Acheson emailed members of the executive committee to get their input on the choice, Morrow told her brother she was informed there were concerns about Reynolds and the party should find someone else.

The problem: Reynolds has publicly come out in favor of gay rights.

Acheson dropped that bomb on Morrow on Sunday, three weeks after she had told him of Reynolds' commitment.

"I find it disheartening we cannot find a way to welcome all people who want to participate in our party," Kirkham told me. "If there isn't any room in the Republican Party for Glenn Reynolds, then we are going to be left with a vanishingly small tent — and a bankrupt country."

Acheson told me the gay-rights advocacy had nothing to do with the holdup on Reynolds. He said the executive committee must approve the speaker, and it hasn't had a meeting since Reynolds' name was proffered. He said there are several potential speakers on the list to consider, including Reynolds.

But Kirkham said he was told there were concerns about Reynolds' position on gay rights and that Acheson wanted to avoid controversy.

As far as the ongoing perusal of possible speakers goes, they had better hurry. The fundraising dinner is just a month away.

Gayle Ruzicka might be available.

Musical chairs • Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love lost her bid for Congress in November, but that didn't stop an overzealous volunteer at Gov. Gary Herbert's inauguration Monday from elevating her ahead of congressional delegation members who actually did get elected.

Love, who arrived at the Capitol after the 10:30 a.m. seating deadline, was reassigned a chair on the front row, next to the former governors and first ladies, and, as luck would have it, right next to former first lady Norma Matheson, mother of Rep. Jim Matheson who defeated Love in a bitterly fought race.

At an event full of lofty egos where the seating pecking order is noticed, she was placed in front of Republican Reps. Chris Stewart, Jason Chaffetz and Rob Bishop and Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee — and Democrat Matheson.

She had been assigned a seat in a row farther back with the other mayors, but when she arrived late, her seat had been taken.

Showing a touch of class, former first lady Matheson turned and gave Love a warm hug. The governor's office later called Matheson's congressional office and apologized.

Musical chairs II • Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams was inaugurated the same day as Herbert and there was one glaring empty chair at the Democratic mayor's event.

Salt Lake County Councilman Richard Snelgrove decided to skip the inauguration and swearing in of his own colleagues. He was just too busy. Or, maybe he felt more comfortable with the Republicans at the governor's inauguration.

What's in a name? • In response to The Salt Lake Tribune story about the Lehi City Council's decision to change the name of the street "Morning Glory" because of a perceived sexual connotation, one reader shared the story of what happened to his 12-year-old daughter at a junior high school in Ogden.

The family had moved from South Carolina and are big fans of the football team.

When the young lady wore her South Carolina sweatshirt to school, she was disciplined by administrators and told not to wear that shirt again to school.

The shirt displayed the name of the school's mascot: The Gamecocks.

What's in a name II? • The Lehi City Council's decision to abolish the street name "Morning Glory" came at the request of Xactware Solutions, a software company relocating from Orem to Lehi on that exact street and didn't want the name "Morning Glory" to be included in its mailing address.

The last name of the president and CEO of Xactware, by the way, is Loveland.

Eat, drink and be merry • In response to Lehi's decision to nix the name, the Red Moose Coffee Company announced its Sunday Special: "The Morning Glory Scramble."

It features three eggs, choice of cheese, toast and sausage.

prolly@sltrib.com