Herbert criticizes states that don't follow 'will of the people' on same-sex marriage

Published: Thursday, Jan. 23 2014 7:55 p.m. MST

That debate, Herbert said, must be civil on all sides of the issue.

Members of the gay community, the governor said, are "our neighbors, our friends, our relatives. They deserve our respect. We should be kind and courteous. We should make sure that this issue, although controversial, is not contentious."

Herbert praised new Attorney General Sean Reyes' choice of Gene Schaerr as the lead outside counsel on the state's appeal to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals and likely the Supreme Court.

Schaerr, who left a partnership in a Washington, D.C., law firm to take the case, agreed to cap his legal fees for the 10th Circuit appeal at $200,000 and accepted a position as a fellow at the Sutherland Institute.

The head of the conservative think tank, Paul Mero, had offered to pay the state's legal costs as long as he approved of the attorney selected and the legal strategy.

Mero declined Thursday to say how much Sutherland is paying Schaerr under contract to produce papers over the next six months on defending traditional marriage.

Asked about the institute's potential influence on the case, the governor said the question that should be raised is whether the state hired a good attorney.

Schaerr, he said, "has impeccable credentials."

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