Metro Weekly

Orrin Hatch pushes back against Carson’s anti-trans remarks

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah (Photo: U.S. Congress, via Wikimedia Commons).
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah (Photo: U.S. Congress, via Wikimedia Commons).

“Of course there are people who are transgender. I don’t think they choose to be that way. So, they’re human beings who deserve the best we can give them.”

–Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), in an interview with Michelangelo Signorile on Sirius XM, responding to comments made by failed presidential candidate Ben Carson at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Carson spoke at a breakfast for the Florida delegation, telling those assembled delegates that the concept of being transgender is “the height of absurdity” and implying that being transgender is somehow akin to pretending to change one’s ethnicity.

In his interview with Signorile, Hatch referred to Utah’s LGBT nondiscrimination law, which was passed in 2015 as part of a compromise between LGBT activists and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) in a state where a majority of the population are practicing Mormons. The law provides some religious exemptions, including one for the Boy Scouts of America, of which the LDS Church is the largest sponsor, but also protects LGBT people from housing and employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

“They’re very difficult issues… very difficult issues to resolve,” Hatch told Signorile. “Utah’s done a pretty good job of that and I think our state has set a pretty good example of how you do it.” Although Hatch noted that the law made some religious conservatives and some members of the LGBT community unhappy, he still called it a “pretty good compromise.”

“I don’t believe we should discriminate against anyone,” said Hatch.

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