Frank Pignanelli & LaVarr Webb: As spring arrives, our thoughts on all the hot topics

Published: Sunday, March 31 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

Webb: Romney suffered a devastating defeat and it made sense for him to let the dust settle and maintain a low profile for several months. But he has a real contribution to make. Sometimes we learn more in defeat than by winning. I hope he will be a voice for mainstream Americans and won't simply use his bully pulpit to bash Democrats and the Obama administration. I hope he will be a voice for laying out what a proper compromise would be to get spending and entitlements under control, along with sensible, pro-growth tax reform. Romney had a terrific plan, developed under the leadership of former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt, to address the country's big, tough issues. I hope he will focus on those big issues and not simply come across as a sore loser.

Many Utahns were directly and indirectly involved in the circumstances leading to the United States Supreme Court's hearing on same-sex marriage. Is there a potential impact on the state?

Pignanelli: A number of affluent Utahns donated to the Proposition 8 campaign, while Utah gay rights organizations filed petitions with the Supreme Court. My prediction (WARNING: any legal analysis from me is either dangerous or useless) is the Court strikes the federal Defense of Marriage Act but upholds states' definitions of marriage that do not impede basic rights between individuals. Thus, there will be something for a Utahn to love and hate.

Webb: I'm not going to guess what the court will decide, although most experts believe the court will likely leave the same-sex marriage question to the states. That would be partial victory for both sides. I believe my good friends with same-sex attraction should be protected from discrimination in such areas as housing and employment. But formal marriage between a man and a woman has been the basic foundation of family life and society for millennia. A new social experiment with the potential to further undermine the already severely-distressed traditional family doesn't make sense.

Republican LaVarr Webb is a political consultant and lobbyist. Previously he was policy deputy to Gov. Mike Leavitt and Deseret News managing editor. Email: lwebb@exoro.com. Democrat Frank Pignanelli is a Salt Lake attorney, lobbyist and political adviser. Pignanelli served 10 years in the Utah House of Representatives, six years as minority leader. His spouse, D'Arcy Dixon Pignanelli, is a state tax commissioner. Email: frankp@xmission.com.

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