Sen. Hatch on immigration reform, civil unions

Posted at 5:32 PM, May 01, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-02 00:27:56-04

SALT LAKE CITY - Senator Orrin Hatch has become a focal point in the upcoming debate about changes to our nation's immigration policy.

Hatch is still undecided on which way he'll go in the upcoming U.S. Senate vote, and many say the longtime senator is the most influential swing vote left.

"It's no secret that there are a lot of people watching what I do on this. I don't know how important I am but I do know this, that if I decide to go forward I think it will open the door for others as well," he told FOX 13's Max Roth.

[Watch the full video with Hatch]

Hatch has a bill that lifts the caps on the number of science and technology intellectuals who can stay in the United States, and his goal is to make his ideas part of the larger immigration legislation.

"Well that would go a long way towards getting me on board because I think that's something that has to be done," Hatch said.

Hatch also talked to Fox 13 about his proposed solution to the national debate over marriage equality.

Hatch says he supports traditional marriage, "It's been in existence for well over two thousand years and it's worked really really well."

But Hatch also made clear he thinks same-sex couples should have the right to civil unions with substantially the same legal protections as marriage.

"I do think it's wrong not to provide a means whereby gay people who literally have entered into a relationship that is long lasting and loving and kind, that they should be deprived of some of the legalities that heterosexual couples have," Hatch said.

Hatch has not proposed a civil union bill.

In a curious aside, if you view the entire interview you'll hear the Senator refer to young people entering into "sexual contracts," rather than marriage. Many of us at FOX 13 had never heard the term. Turns out the senator was ahead of us pop culture-wise.

A Google search shows the term "sexual contracts" popularized in the bestselling novel, "50 Shades of Grey" and now suggested in any number of advice columns. You can find the senator's reference just over seven minutes into the interview.