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Utah Republican Apologizes for Letter Stating Equal Pay for Women Has Consequences

The Vice Chairman of the Wasatch County Republicans in Utah has apologized for a letter he sent to two newspapers titled, "Equal Pay for Women Has Consequences.”
Image: Gary Herbert
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert speaks during his annual state of the state address at the Utah State capitol Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, in Salt Lake City.Rick Bowmer / AP

Man, oh man.

A GOP official in Utah has apologized for a letter he sent to two newspapers criticizing a State Senate bill that, along with defining certain employee payment criteria, would call for a study to be conducted on whether or not a pay disparity exists between men and women in the state.

Vice Chairman of the Wasatch County Republicans James Green’s letter, titled “Equal Pay for Women Has Consequences,” was published on Feb. 15 in both the Wasatch Wave and the Park Record.

In the missive, Green explained what he thought was wrong with Senate Bill 210:

"Traditionally men have earned more than women in the workplace because they are considered the primary breadwinners for families. They need to make enough to support their families and allow the Mother to remain in the home to raise and nurture the children," Green wrote.

He also wrote that if businesses are forced to pay women the same amount as men, male employees would see a pay reduction.

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"And as even more women thus enter the workforce that creates more competition for jobs (even men's jobs) and puts further downward pressure on the pay for all jobs ... meaning more and more Mothers [sic] will be forced into the workforce. And that is bad for families and thus for all of society,” Green wrote.

Green closed the letter by encouraging the Utah state Senate to drop the bill.

But Republican Senator Jacob Anderegg, the chief sponsor of Senate Bill 210, said while he honors Green’s right to his opinion, he’s not sure if Green read the bill.

“After reading Mr. Green’s Op Ed it is clear that he hasn’t read the bill and doesn’t understand that my bill calls for a study to be conducted by the Utah State Department of Workforce Services,” Anderegg wrote in an email to NBC News.

Anderegg said he didn’t want to create legislation based on anecdotal information, and therefore he believes the topic should be studied. He added that any new statute needs to be based on reliable data.

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“The study may show that there isn’t a wage gap problem within the State, in which Mr. Green’s concern is mute,” Anderegg wrote. “But it may show that a wage gap problem does indeed exist and it will help us quantify the size of the problem.”

Green declined to comment on his letter to NBC News, but said he’s gotten a lot of flak for it and sent an apology letter to Salt Lake City’s Fox 13.

In his apology, Green said he didn’t mean any offense toward women and clarified that his letter was meant to represent his feelings that the government shouldn’t be telling employers how to hire, employ or pay their workers.

“To those who were offended, I profusely apologize. I sincerely did not mean to do that,” Green wrote. “Of course, Women’s contributions in the workplace are just as valuable as any one else’s. I was merely pointing out the historical reasons for pay disparity and the challenges of overcoming that."

Morgan Murdock, chair of the Wasatch County Republican Party, said in a statement emailed to NBC News that the thoughts expressed by Green in his editorial to the Wasatch Wave and Park Record regarding Equal Pay were his opinions and do not reflect those of the Wasatch County Republican Party.

“Mr. Green submitted a statement to both newspapers in which he gave an apology and clarified that they were his opinions and that they ‘do not reflect those of the Wasatch County Republican Party or the Republican Party in general,’” he wrote. Murdock added that the Republican National Committee views women as “an integral part of our economy and deserve equal pay for equal work.”