Thursday, May 29, 2014

Utah Senator Orrin Hatch Admits Gay Marriage Might Win

by Brig Bagley

29 May 2014

Republican senator Orrin Hatch, on a radio interview this week, conceded that gay marriage will likely become the law of the land. Hatch is one of the first conservative Utah politicians to admit impending defeat on the subject of same-sex marriage. He even went as far as to commend the rulings of Judges Shelby and Kimball, saying they can't be blamed for ruling in congruence with the US Supreme Court. However, Hatch believes Shelby should have issued a stay on the ruling, and Hatch himself does not agree with rulings that favor gay marriage.

Hatch previously condoned separate, but equal civil unions for gay people just last year, but that was not mentioned during this interview. He did say that marriage laws should be completely in the hands of the states, and not decided by the federal government. He also fears the status of religion and religious freedom, now that so many people are leaving churches and fighting against them.

What is interesting here is that not too long ago in 2006, republicans pushed to make law a national definition of marriage in the US Constitution. The Federal Marriage Amendment, or the Marriage Protection Amendment, actually made it to the House and Senate to vote into law. However, the amendment was far from its required 2/3 majority to pass. So why are the republicans so adamant to make marriage a state issue when they wanted their "traditional" definition forced upon the entire US federally? When the FMA was going through congress, democrats were the voice saying marriage was a state issue. Now that gay marriage is being considered as a constitutional right through equal protection and due process for all minorities, the tables have turned.

Something in the early 2000s caused a number of states to vote or write into law either gay marriage bans, or more explicit definitions of marriage that were meant to exclude same-sex unions. At that time, gay rights were very young and not well-known. So, the majority of people had no problem voting these changes in, since it was something that seemed to make sense at the time. It was an interesting preemptive move to slow the gay rights movement... maybe not even entirely intentional. 

Now, thanks to the US Supreme Court, Prop 8 and DOMA were struck down, giving way for over a dozen federal judges to strike down the bans of early 2000 in the respective states. Prop 8 was the child of the LDS church, and gay proponents have the LDS church to thank for expediting the rulings that have led us to today. Although it was not the Mormons' intentions, they inadvertently helped the gay cause by appealing and fighting to the bloody end. DOMA was in response to how the federal government would treat same-sex marriages when performed in states where it was legal in 1996. It was put in to NOT recognize same-sex marriages federally even if legally performed in a state. Now both Prop 8 and DOMA are overturned, and the snowball is rolling into an avalanche of equal rights for LGBT individuals. 

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