Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch Calls For Unity Among Conservatives & LGBTQs On His Way Out The Door

Retiring GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah

The Republican Party has never been a great friend to the LGBTQ community.

Too many conservative, Evangelical votes to court made us less than a priority in their eyes.

But as Congress prepares to recess for the holiday, Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, in his farewell address on the floor of the Senate, surprised many by telling his colleagues they should “protect LGBTQ individuals from invidious discrimination.”

Here’s just part of what the conservative Christian and Mormon said on Wednesday via the Washington Post:

“Nowhere is the pluralist approach more needed than in the fraught relationship between religious liberty and LGBTQ rights. . . . Religious liberty is a fundamental freedom. It deserve the very highest protection our country can provide. At the same time, it’s also important to account of other interests as well — especially those of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. Pluralism shows us a better way. It shows us that protecting religious liberty and preserving the rights of LGBTQ individuals are not mutually exclusive. I believe we can find substantial common ground on these issues that will enable us to both safeguard the ability of religious individuals to live their faith and protect LGBTQ individuals from invidious discrimination.”

Referencing the passage of the “Utah Compromise,” an anti-discrimination law that passed with bipartisan support in Utah in 2015, the 81-year-old shared how the legislation strengthened religious freedom and protected LGBT Americans from discrimination.

Hatch said that passing similar legislation on a federal level could be a unifying piece of legislation that honors the diversity of Americans.

While it’s nice that Sen. Hatch raises his voice in support for LGBTQ inclusion as he walks out the door, pardon me if I find it a bit of “too little, too late.”

As The Washington Post points out, no group is less supportive of same-sex marriage and the advancement of LGBT rights than white evangelicals.

And the Republican Party has been home to white evangelicals since the election of President Ronald Reagan.

And, it was white evangelicals, white Catholics and white Protestant Christians who flocked to Donald Trump in 2016. The same Donald Trump who hasn’t paused in his attacks on our community since taking office.

And then there’s Hatch’s own record on LGBTQ issues:

• Voted YES on constitutional ban of same-sex marriage

• Voted YES on prohibiting same-sex marriage

• Voted NO on adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes

• Voted NO on prohibiting job discrimination by sexual orientation

So, while I appreciate the sentiment, Mr. Hatch, thanks for not a lot.

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch Announces Retirement Opening The Door For Mitt Romney

Sen. Orrin Hatch

Having held his seat in the U.S. Senate since 1977, Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah is the longest-serving Senate Republican.

But today, Hatch announced he will retire at the end of the year after four decades in office.

The veteran senator made his announcement via video today. “When the president visited Utah last month, he said I was a fighter. I’ve always been a fighter. I was an amateur boxer in my youth, and I brought that fighting spirit with me to Washington,” he said. “But every good fighter knows when to hang up the gloves. And for me, that time is soon approaching.”

This will come as a blow to Donald Trump who has encouraged the Utah senator and solid Trump-supporter to run for re-election.

The move opens the door for former Massachusetts governor and 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to run for the open seat in solid red Utah. Romney is now a resident of the heavily Mormon state.

Romney has indicated for months he would be interested in running but only if Hatch were to choose to step aside.

You may recall that during the 2016 presidential campaign, Romney repeatedly called Trump “a fraud,” with the Trumpster returning fire saying that Romney had “choked like a dog” in the 2012 election.

Several folks say they are waiting for Romney to be told, as a past presidential candidate like Hillary Clinton, to “take up knitting.”

U.S. Senators Get Into Shouting Match Over Tax Cuts For The Wealthy

Sen. Orrin Hatch

This was really quite the exchange yesterday between Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah.

During a Senate Finance Committee hearing last night, Brown accused Republicans of pushing a tax plan that provides a tax cut that’s “not really for the middle class, it’s for the rich.”

Brown clearly seems to have touched a nerve with the Republican.

Via The Hill:

Hatch, the committee chairman, quickly fired back at Brown, saying that he isn’t advocating for the rich but comes “from the poor people.”

“I’ve been here working my whole stinking career for people who don’t have a chance,” Hatch said. “And I really resent anybody who says I’m just doing this for the rich. Give me a break.”

“I think you guys just overplay that all the time and it gets old, frankly you ought to quit,” he continued. “I get kind of sick and tired of it. … It’s a nice political play, but it’s not true.”

Brown quickly responded, saying that he gets “sick and tired of the richest people in this country getting richer and richer.”

The two senators loudly talked over each other as they tried to regain control of the floor.

“Listen, I’ve honored you by allowing you to spout off here but what you said was not right, that’s all I’m saying,” Hatch said. “I come from the lower-middle class originally, we didn’t have anything. So don’t spew that stuff on me, I get real tired of that crap.”

Not surprisingly, the plan was advanced out of the committee by a party line vote of 14-12.

Watch below.

Sen. Orrin Hatch on the inevitability of marriage equality in the US

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch

Seven term Republican Senator from Utah Orrin Hatch indicated during a radio interview with KSL Radio’s “Doug Wright Show” that he views marriage equality as inevitable, and anyone who doesn’t think so “Isn’t living in the real world.”

“Let’s face it, anybody who does not believe that gay marriage is going to be the law of the land just hasn’t been observing what’s going on. There is a question whether [the courts] should be able to tell the states what they can or cannot do with something as important as marriage, but the trend right now in the courts is to permit gay marriage and anybody who doesn’t admit that just isn’t living in the real world.

“We have an excellent federal bench [in Utah]. Other federal judges down there might not have arrived at the same conclusion that these two have. But I think it’s a portent of the future that sooner or later gay marriage is probably going to be approved by the Supreme Court of the United States, certainly as the people in this country move towards it, especially young people.

“I don’t think that’s the right way to go; on the other hand, I do accept whatever the courts say.”

It should be noted that Hatch played a key role, as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, in the nominations of both Robert Shelby (who ruled Utah’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional) and Dale Kimball (who recently declared Utah must recognize those same-sex couples who married in Utah during the brief window between late December and January 6).


Utah: Sen. Orrin Hatch thinks civil unions could preserve “traditional” marriage

Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah wants to preserve marriage as between a man and a woman, and he says one way to do that would be to offer gay couples civil unions.

“I’ll say this, I do believe this could be solved greatly by a civil-union law that would give gay people the same rights as married people,” said Hatch, who mentioned hospital visitations and tax benefits. “I think we can solve this problem without undermining the very basis of marital law in our country.”

Hatch said he doesn’t believe people choose to be gay, but “I draw the line on traditional marriage.”

Six states offer civil unions, including Colorado and Hawaii, while nine others and the District of Columbia have legalized gay marriage. Same-sex marriage is illegal in the rest of the nation.

More at the Salt Lake Tribune