Text of debate between Sen. Orrin Hatch, Dan Liljenquist on KSL's Doug Wright Show

Published: Saturday, June 16 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

Doug Wright: We've had interesting responses but I'm not sure we addressed the texter's question so I'm going to ask it again. What are you personally and individually going to do reverse the alarmingly toxic and overly partitian environment, and again his reminder, please do not just blame the other side, we've heard that quite enough. There's a fatigue factor in there that's just, uh, overt, and I think many Americans feel that way, so again let me just give both of you about 30-seconds, what are you personally going to do?

Dan Liljenquist: OK, Doug, I will never go on television and point fingers at the other side when my own record demonstrates that I acted the same way they did. I will not be a hypocrite. I don't think any legislation gets passed by bashing people over the head on television, and you know what, I'm gonna work with the other side. I think there are patriots on both sides of the isle, who can do a little bit of math, who are interested in seeing reforms done, and I've found them here in the state. But you don't do that by blaming Democrats for every issue.

Doug Wright: Senator Hatch.

Orrin Hatch: Well I have to say that I have a reputation for being able to bring both sides together. I've had a number of Democrat colleagues in the senate come up to me and say you just simply have to win. You're one of the few people who can bring us all together and get things going again. And I don't bring them together to spend money and blow money our the door, I bring them together to get things under control and frankly we need more of that today, not less. On the other hand, they don't, uh, infringe on my concern with values. Whenever we've brought them together it's always been on the center of right and good basis.

Doug Wright: In our country we have a raging debate on same sex marriage, domestic partnerships, all of the above. The 1996 Defense of Marriage Act recently came under question, very serious question, from the first circuit court of appeals in Boston, Mass., they've ruled this as unconstitutional signed by President Clinton in 1996. Here's the question, where do both of you see this country going on this issue and how do you intend to steer this debate? And I believe we should start with Senator Hatch on this one.

Orrin Hatch: DOMA, or the Defense of Marriage Act, is a bill that I worked very hard to get through, because I don't believe in discriminating against anybody but I'll tell you this I do draw the line when it comes to the definition of marriage and the Defense of Marriage Act was an act that we passed that made sure that the states could do whatever they decided to, uh, decided on that issue and 30 states now have it written in their constitutions that marriage is between a man and a woman, so DOMA's had a very good effect. 80% of, uh, the Congress voted in both houses for DOMA. Now the district court out in San Francisco and of course the one up in Maine, or Massachusetts, they both ignored the law created new law, created new standards and that has to be tested in court but uh when it comes to marriage. I just do not believe that we should make any exceptions to that.

Doug Wright: Alright Senator Hatch. Thank you. And former state senator Liljenquist, your thoughts.

Dan Liljenquist: Senator I am in 100% agreement with you on that issue. Look, Professor Robert George of Princeton rightly said that the traditional family is the original and best department of health education and welfare, it should be honored and respected in our society, states should have the ability to determine their own laws, as we've done here, now there's a push federally in courts to make one state's decisions apply in every state. The Defense of Marriage Act was an appropriate step for Congress to take to reaffirm states rights to define their own contractual familiar relationships in the states, it's always been a states issue, so I agree with him on that.

Orrin Hatch: if I could add just one thing, I have put together the brief in that particular case, out in the West, and hopefully that brief will point out, well it does point out, just how radical the judge was in making the decision he did. He completely ignored all the laws in this country, and I'm glad Dan has agreed with me on that and I appreciate that.

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