Orrin Hatch Hub




Thursday Speed Read: Pennsylvania, Orrin Hatch, Luxembourg, NOM, Scott Walker, Wisconsin

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

PENNSYLVANIA IS SAFE AS NUMBER 19: Gaffney

A federal judge in Pennsylvania denied a petition Tuesday from a county clerk who asked to serve as intervenor in an appeal to defend the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. The register of wills for Schuylkill County petitioned U.S. District Court Judge John Jones III after Republican Governor Tom Corbett said he would not appeal Jones’ May 20 decision in Whitewood v. Wolf, declaring the state ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. In his June 18 order, Jones said, “If the highest elected official in the Commonwealth chooses to abide by our decision, it defies credulity that we would permit a single citizen to stand in for him to perfect an appeal.”

HatchEXECUTIVE WRESTLING:

Just as President Obama’s staff is putting together an executive order to prohibit discrimination by federal contractors, U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) posted a statement Tuesday on his senate website saying he thinks the order should include “the same religious protections that are included” in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that passed the Senate. That would not go over well with a growing number of LGBT activists and groups who are adamantly opposed to the religious exemptions in the current version of ENDA.

LuxembourgLUXEMBOURG MAKES 18:

The Luxembourg Chamber of Deputies voted Wednesday to allow same-sex couples to marry. The vote came after two efforts to block the bill through a citizens’ petition failed to garner the 4,500 signatures necessary, according to Luxembourg Wort newspaper.  Seventeen other countries have marriage equality laws: Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Uruguay, England, and Wales. Scotland’s new law goes into effect later this year.

NOM-logoNOM RALLIES IN WASHINGTON:

Two former, failed, and potential Republican presidential candidates, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, are among the speakers slated for a rally against same-sex couples today in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the National Organization for Marriage. A lot of rancor has been focused on another prominent keynoter: San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone. State and local officials in California implored Cordileone to withdraw his participation, as did a number of LGBT groups; but he said he does not consider the event to be anti-gay in nature.

WalkerWISCONSIN GOVERNOR IN HOT SEAT:

Wisconsin’s Republican Governor Scott Walker is in the hot seat over his refusal to state a position on same-sex marriage. In an editorial Tuesday, the Capital Times newspaper in Madison took him to task: "Here's a politician that used the gay marriage card with reckless abandon during his many election campaigns…. He constantly attacked proposals that would allow a couple other than a man and a woman to marry and was one of the key supporters of the amendment that wrote discrimination against gays into the state's constitution back in 2006…. Now, he says it doesn't make any difference what he believes. We beg to differ.”

BaldwinBALDWIN, OTHERS URGE DOJ HELP:

Openly gay Senator Tammy Baldwin and Rep. Mark Pocan from Wisconsin sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Monday, asking that the federal government recognize the marriages of same-sex couples in Wisconsin even though the state —at the moment— will not. Wisconsin’s Republican attorney general argues that the marriages are not valid because they took place before federal Judge Barbara Crabb’s issued an injunction against enforcement of the ban. Although she declared the ban unconstitutional on June 6, Crabb did not issue her injunction until June 13, the same day she issued a stay of her decision and the injunction.  

© 2014 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) Wants ENDA Executive Order to Include Religious Exemptions

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) is calling for religious exemptions to be included in the executive order President Obama is expected to issue that will protect LGBT employees of federal contractors from discrimination.

The Washington Blade reports:

Orrin hatch“While the specifics of this executive order are not yet clear, I believe it must include the same religious protections that are included in the bipartisan Employment Non-Discrimination Act that passed the Senate,” Hatch said. “ENDA strikes a good balance to ensure that discrimination based on sexual orientation will not be tolerated, but also that one of our nation’s fundamental freedoms — religious freedom — is still upheld. The same must be said for any Obama Administration initiative on this issue.” […]

A White House official responded to Hatch’s request for similar language in the executive order by saying it doesn’t any have details to share about the specifics of the directive.

The Washington Blade notes that in the current version of ENDA before Congress, religious institutions, like churches or religious hospitals and schools, could continue to discriminate against LGBT workers in non-ministerial positions even if the bill were to become law.

Last September, Hatch was among 10 Senate Republicans who voted for ENDA


Thursday Speed Read: Houston, Anthony Kennedy, NOM, Maine, Orrin Hatch, Caitlin Cahow

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

A_parkerHOUSTON COUNCIL APPROVES LAW:

The Houston City Council heard more than eight hours of public comment Wednesday before voting 11 to 6 in favor of Mayor Annise Parker’s comprehensive law banning discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and other categories. The Houston Chronicle said more than 250 people signed up to offer comments on the bill.

KennedyNOM SEEKS SUPREME INTERVENTION:

Justice Anthony Kennedy on Wednesday asked attorneys for Oregon and same-sex plaintiff couples to respond to a motion from the National Organization for Marriage. NOM filed a motion Tuesday seeking a stay of a May 19 federal district court ruling that allowed the state to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Prior to that ruling, NOM sought the right to defend the state ban after the governor and attorney general made clear they would not. U.S. District Court Judge Michael McShane, an openly gay Obama appointee, ruled the ban unconstitutional on May 19 and couples began obtaining licenses right away. McShane and the Ninth Circuit then denied NOM’s request for a temporary stay in order to appeal the decision concerning intervenor status.

Eastman_brownMAINE IMPOSES RECORD FINE ON NOM: 

The Maine commission for campaign ethics voted unanimously Wednesday to approve a recommendation imposing a record $50,250 fine on the National Organization for Marriage. The staff of the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices recommended the fine against NOM because of its failure to register as a ballot question committee and file campaign finance reports that disclosed its donors. The Kennebec Journal reported Commission Chairman Walter McKee as saying NOM’s defense –that it was protecting its donors from harassment— made a “mockery of Maine’s election laws.” NOM says it will appeal the ruling and file its own complaints against the Human Rights Campaign.

HatchHATCH ON INEVITABILITY OF MARRIAGE:

U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) had this to say about the inevitability of same-sex couples being able to marry nationwide: "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….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." Hatch made his remarks on KSL-Radio and they were widely reported, including in the Salt Lake City Tribune.

AngelouMAYA ANGELOUS PASSES:

Acclaimed poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou died Wednesday at the age of 86. Angelou served as an important ally to the LGBT community, lobbying legislators in New York to support marriage equality. She was perhaps best known for her autobiographical I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and writing and delivering a poem, “On the Pulse of the Morning,” at President Clinton’s first inauguration. President Obama bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom on her in 2011.

CAITLIN CAHOW NAMED TO COUNCIL:

President Obama this month named lesbian hockey player Caitlin Cahow to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition. Cahow most recently served on the Presidential Delegation to the Opening Ceremony at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

© 2014 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT): 'Gay Marriage is Going to Be the Law of the Land'

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) was interviewed on KSL' Radio's Doug Wright Show today and said that it's certain the United States will adopt marriage equality, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.

HatchSaid Hatch:

"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."

Hatch, who supports a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, says he's not surprised by the recent rulings in favor of it:

"How do you blame the judge for deciding a case in accordance with what the Supreme Court has already articulated?"

He added:

"Sooner or later gay marriage is probably going to be approved by the Supreme Court of the United States, and certainly as the people in this country move toward 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 have to say."

(Mormon heads explode).


Despite Bipartisan Support, Three Democratic Senators Still Undecided On ENDA

Sens

Despite the recent bipartisan endorsement that the current incarnation of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) received from the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee (HELP), The Washington Blade reports that three key Democratic senators, Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.; pictured above left), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.; above center), and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.; above right), are still holding out on offering their support for the bill:

"Manchin ignored questions from the Blade on how he’ll vote on the bill. His response to the final question: 'It’s very nice to meet you.'

Pryor was similarly non-committal. Asked whether he was familiar with the legislation, the senator replied, 'I am in concept, but I haven’t seen it or read it yet.'

Asked for a sense of how he’ll vote on ENDA, Pryor said he needed time to review the bill, adding, 'I’ll just have to look at it.”

Nelson couldn’t be reached on Capitol Hill for a comment on how he’ll vote on ENDA. The Florida senator’s office — along with the offices of Pryor and Manchin — hasn’t responded for six weeks to the Blade’s requests for comment on ENDA...

Although the lack of commitment from Pryor and Manchin may not be surprising because they’re among the Democrats who don’t support marriage equality, Nelson’s silence is striking because he supports same-sex marriage. In May 2010, the senator also voted for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee even before the Pentagon report on open service came out later that fall."

Many LGBT advocates have called on Senators Nelson, Pryor and Mancin to announce their support for the bill and join as co-sponsors. Tico Almeida, president of Freedom to Work, told the Blade,

“The three holdout Senate Democrats are alienating themselves further from the Democratic Party and ignoring American values of hard work and success with every passing day that they stubbornly refuse to cosponsor the bipartisan ENDA.”

White House spokesperson Shin Inouye insisted that administration officials are lobbying the Senate to ensure a successful vote in favor of ENDA.

HRCThe bill, having advanced out of committee with the support of prominent Republicans such as Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah), is widely believed to receive an up or down vote after Congress's August recess, according to HELP chairman Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). Meanwhile the Human Rights campaign has begun a $2 million campaign to rally bipartisan support for ENDA, with plans to engage in "grassroots activities to encourage Republican votes for ENDA in Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania." ENDA's proponents are primarily concerned with mustering 60 yes votes in the Senate thus securing a filibuster-proof super-majority in support of the bill, a de-facto requirement for nearly all Democratic legislation in the Senate since President Obama took office in 2009. LGBT advocates of the bill believe they have a strong message they can pitch to a broad swath of American voters about why passing ENDA is crucial: Americans value "hard work," "fairness," and won't stand for discrimination.

However, should ENDA pass the Senate it faces a steeper uphill battle in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. Earlier this month, gay co-author of the McCain-Feingold Act, Trevor Porter, suggested that a discharge petition was the surest solution to passing ENDA in the House where some Republican members are expected to have reservations about approving the bill given the protections it provides to individuals discriminated against based on their gender identity.

Though many, including Sen. Hatch, remain pessimistic about ENDA's chances in the House, LGBT advocacy groups are stressing the importance of focusing on winning senate approval before delving into the myriad of complications that await ENDA in the House. Jeff Cook-McCormac, senior adviser to the newly formed Republican-affiliated American Unity Fund, commented:

“Getting the House to move is going to require initial Senate action...I think that the real critical focus for this coalition of business and labor, of the gay community and employers, is building on the overwhelming vote in the Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee to get to floor consideration, to get the majority that we need and then to begin to work in a careful and thoughtful way with House Republicans to think through ways that this important measure can be realized.”


Senator Orrin Hatch Defends DOMA, Thinks Civil Unions Will Keep Everybody Happy

Senator Orrin Hatch believes civil unions will solve the country's inequality issues while saving the word "marriage" for heterosexuals, the Salt Lake Tribune reports:

HatchThe senator made the comment Wednesday at the end of a wide-ranging interview on Logan station KVNU, where he also said he doesn’t believe people choose to be gay, but "I draw the line on traditional marriage."

...Hatch, R-Utah, defended the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, and hopes the court will allow each state to handle this controversial issue on its own.

"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."


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