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Utah Senator Orrin Hatch honors Pride Month, talks LGBT youth suicide prevention

Washington, D.C. — In a speech given on the Senator floor on Wednesday, Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, a Republican, talked about LGBT youth suicide prevention, saying that he timed his speech to coincide with Pride month.

Hatch told his Senate colleagues that suicide among LGBT youth is "particularly acute" and that they "experience bullying and discrimination at every turn."

"That's why today, in honor of Pride month, I wish to devote a significant portion of my remarks to them – my young friends in the LGBT community," Hatch said.

"No one should feel less because of their orientation. They deserve our unwavering love and support. They deserve our validation and the assurance that not only is there a place for them in this society but that it is far better off because of them. These young people need us and we desperately need them."

"We all have family or loved ones who feel marginalized because of gender identity or sexual orientation, and we need to be there for them."

"Regardless of where you stand on the cultural issues of the day, whether you are a religious conservative, a secular liberal, or somewhere in between, we all have a special duty to each other. That duty is to treat one another with dignity and respect. It is not simply to tolerate but to love," he added.

Hatch called for passage of the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act, legislation which would create a three-digit number to reach the national suicide prevention hotline. The bill, approved by the Senate, is currently in the House.

The seven-term senator announced earlier this year that he would not seek re-election.

Hatch, a Mormon, has previously supported the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which prohibited federal agencies from recognizing the legal marriages of gay and lesbian couples. More recently, he praised the Supreme Court's ruling siding with a Colorado baker who refused to make a cake for a male gay couple.

(Related: Supreme Court narrowly sides with baker who refused gay couple.)
Article provided in partnership with On Top Magazine
 
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