Orrin Hatch the Republican senator from Utah gave a surprising speech in which he praised LGBTQ youth. Senator Hatch took to the floor of the United States Senate on Wednesday to give a speech in support of both Pride Month and young LGBTQ people. He began his speech referencing LGBTQ people who commit suicide each year.
“I rise today to address a public health issue that has in its wake left a trail of tragedy and shattered lives,” he opened. “A suicide epidemic has touched all sectors of our society. But the problem is particularly acute among LGBT youth who experience bullying and discrimination at every turn.”
He also touched on LGBTQ people who are estranged from their families because of their sexual or gender identity. Furthermore, he indicated that the rate of suicide among LGBTQ teens is a matter of “national attention.” Senator Hatch stated: “No one should ever feel less because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. LGBTQ youth deserve our unwavering love and support, and they deserve validation and not only assurance that there is a place for them in this society, but that it is far better off because of them.”
Hatch went even further when he stated; “These young people need us — and we desperately need them. We need their light to illuminate the richness and diversity of God’s creations. We need the grace, beauty and brilliance they bring to the world.”
Senator Hatch also said that Americans regardless of political parties should treat everyone with “dignity and respect,” and no matter where they stood on the “cultural issues of the day.”
He continues to say: “These young men and women deserve to feel loved, cared for and accepted for who they are. I don’t think they chose to be who they are, they’re born to be who they are. And we have to understand that. They deserve to know that they belong and that our society is stronger because of them.”
Senator Hatch has not always been an ally of the LGBTQ community. He supported the Defense of Marriage Act in the 1990s which prohibited same-sex couple’s form receiving federal marriage benefits. In 2013 he was against same-sex marriage, but he did support civil unions.
It appears that Senator Hatch has come to an awaking, he also is opposed to Trump’s proposed transgender ban in the military and is in support of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, which bans firing refusal to hire anyone based on sexual orientation or gender identity.