Leahy Takes On Hatch Over Polygamy
Robert Gehrke, Salt Lake Tribune
MONDAY, MAY 22, 2006
There was no "Big Love" between Sen. Orrin Hatch and Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy on Thursday, as Hatch angrily denied Leahy's suggestion that Hatch defends polygamists.
Leahy raised Hatch's past comments on the issue of plural marriage during a debate on whether a constitutional amendment aimed at banning same-sex marriage should also prohibit polygamous unions.
The Democrat wondered aloud about the amendment's impact on polygamy.
"[Hatch] says he knows a number of those polygamists in Utah, says they're fine people," Leahy said.
Hatch took exception, saying he hadn't made such statements. But Leahy countered that Hatch has been quoted saying as much in past news reports.
"You don't think they're fine people?" Leahy asked.
"I've met some who are very sincere, but I don't justify it," Hatch said.
"Well, if you know they're out there committing a felony and you haven't reported it, then you . . . ," Leahy began.
"Don't accuse me of wanting polygamy," Hatch snapped.