AN ABSURD LITMUS TEST…. The 2012 elections are obviously very far away, but Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman certainly seems to be running for president. This week, he’s making campaign stops appearances in three key Michigan counties over five days.

It would have been four counties, but one of them refuses to listen to what Huntsman has to say. He’d already been invited to speak in Kent County, but then local GOP activists learned Huntsman supports civil unions.

Utah Gov. John Huntsman (R), seen by many as a potential top-tier presidential candidate in 2012, has been uninvited from a local Michigan Republican club after announcing his support for civil unions between gay couples.

Huntsman is touring Michigan this week and stopping at several county party events as he slowly raises his national profile. But the Kent County Republican Party this week canceled Huntsman’s appearance, with the county party chairwoman saying his appearance would amount to an abandonment of party principles.

Joanne Voorhees, chairwoman of the party in the Grand Rapids-based county, emailed party members to announce the cancellation of the Saturday fundraiser.

“The voters want and expect us to stand on principle and return to our roots,” Voorhees wrote in an email. “Unfortunately, by holding an event with Gov. Huntsman, we would be doing the exact opposite.”

The Campaign for Michigan Families, an anti-gay group in the state, applauded the decision and encouraged other county Republican Parties in Michigan to also disinvite Huntsman.

Keep in mind, we’re not talking about an event to deliver an endorsement. Huntsman — a conservative Republican governor from a conservative Republican state — just wanted to stop by and talk to these folks. But since he supports civil unions — not marriage equality, just civil unions — they don’t even want Huntsman to walk in the door.

This really isn’t healthy.

Republicans in Kent County, Michigan, might want to consider a more open-minded approach. In 2004, George W. Bush won the country by 55,000 votes. Four years later, Barack Obama narrowly won the same county.

If local GOP leaders don’t even want to be in the same room as a Republican who supports civil unions, this is likely to get worse.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.