Overstock.com executive says churches need protections from gays

Mon. January 20, 2014 9:31 AM by GoPride.com News Staff

jonathan johnson

Salt Lake City, UT - Jonathan Johnson, executive vice chairman of the online retailer Overstock.com, said it's shocking to him that some people think churches don't need protection, according to Deseret News

"It makes me feel like if a same-gender couple goes to an orthodox Jewish rabbi and says, 'Marry us in your synagogue,' the 22 percent would say he has to say yes," Johnson said.

Johnson, who is also founder of the First Freedom PAC, was responding to a new Deseret News/KSL poll that showed 72 percent of Utahns believe laws should be passed to protect churches, synagogues and other places of worship from having to perform same-sex marriages. 

"I'm surprised that anyone thinks that the government should force religions to do things," Johnson said. "But because the religious liberties issue today is so tied to the same-sex marriage issue, I can see why it's a sore spot for people."

The poll found 57 percent of Utahns oppose same-sex marriage. 

Johnson and his political action committee want to amend Utah's Constitution, which already prohibits same-sex marriage, to shield religious institutions from performing such unions.