Now Reading
Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch urges his party to support the LGBTI community in farewell address

Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch urges his party to support the LGBTI community in farewell address

Utah Senator Orrin Hatch (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) gave a compassionate speech urging his constituents to support the LGBTI community.

Hatch is an ultra-conservative who has been in the United States Senate since 1977. He announced his retirement earlier this year. Back in June, in honor of Pride month, Hatch gave another pro-LGBTI speech.

Hatch continued this advocacy for the LGBTI community in his farewell address, which he gave to Congress on Wednesday, 12 December.

Farewell address

‘Nowhere is the pluralist approach more needed than in the fraught relationship between religious liberty and LGBTQ rights,’ Hatch said.

‘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.’

Watch his speech below:

In his speech, Hatch makes reference to the ‘Utah compromise.’ He is referring to the 2015 passing of a law in the state that adds sexual orientation and gender identity to anti-discrimination legislation. Despite Utah’s large conservative Mormon community, the law passed.

The law prohibits discrimination of LGBTI people in employment and housing, but makes exemptions for religious employers (such as Catholic schools).

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) praised this legislation. They called it the ‘first time that a Republican-controlled process has led to extension of protections for LGBT people.’

Anything else?

Currently, LGBTI activists in Utah are working to pass a bill that would ban conversion therapy in the state.