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Orrin Hatch called 'homophobic moron' for gay tithing comments

June 13, 2010 |  9:21 am

You know when you have to say "I meant it was a compliment" that it didn't come off as a compliment.

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch is under fire from some in the gay community for saying "gays and lesbians don't pay tithing, their religion is politics" at a town hall meeting earlier this month.

Hatch said he was referring to the organizational strength and activism of the gay community, likening the group to environmentalists and labor unions, and not saying that they weren't religious.

"I was talking about politics and praising them for getting involved," Hatch explained to the Salt Lake City Tribune. "I was making the point that they don't just stand on the side; they actually support their Democratic candidates with their money."

Hatch said he admired that many gay people were "willing to pony up money for politics."

"I don't know how I could have been much more complimentary the way I said it," he said.

Judging from the reaction, maybe by not saying it all.

He received a gentle reprimand from the Affirmation group, a support group for gay Mormons.  The executive director said, "If Sen. Hatch is rewording his statement or apologizing, we're certainly accepting of that apology."

But there was a much stronger rebuke from others.  A writer from the LezGetReal blog wrote that if the senator wanted any money from the LGBT community, he "might want to stop acting like a homophobic moron."

-- Jimmy Orr

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Photo: Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch.  Credit: Associated Press