Gage Skidmore / Flickr Orrin Hatch...
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Forty-four percent of homocides in Utah are the direct result of domestic violence. That didn’t stop Utah’s own Orrin Hatch from endorsing alleged wife beater and Hatch’s former chief of staff Rob Porter in the most glowing of terms; until Hatch saw the handwriting on the wall and walked the comment back. Unfortunately, the Salt Lake Tribune is not letting it go so easily.

Salt Lake Tribune:

Good people don’t hit their wives. Instead of encouraging Porter to remain, Hatch should have called for his resignation immediately.

It wasn’t until Hatch saw the pictures of Holderness’s black eye, and realized the tide was turning against Porter quickly, that he released a more appropriate statement. “Domestic violence in any form is abhorrent and unacceptable. I am praying for Rob and those involved.”

Hatch is praying for Porter. Not Willoughby or Holderness. Porter.

Equally as shameful was the additional revelation that both Willoughby and Porter, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, had spoken to their bishops about Porter’s alleged abuse. And still, Porter’s professional success continued.

In fact, Willoughby’s bishop reminded her of Porter’s career, and said, “Keep in mind, Rob has career ambitions.”


The LDS Church has issued a statement that the church does not tolerate abuse. Except it did, in this case.

Mormon bishops are not trained counselors. Few, if any, have the skills or education to know what to do when a church member reports domestic violence. Even worse, the nature of men-only church classes and leadership positions makes it more likely that the bishop will side with the husband.

The church leaves women alone, and without any support.

Utah was once home to the dinosaurs and they’ve still got one in Orrin Hatch. It’s well and good that he’s not running for re-election because clearly the people of Utah have outgrown him. As to Porter, he’s a “good Morman,” having taught at Brigham Young University and served n a Morman mission in London. Maybe it’s time for Porter to move with the times as well, and set aside the absurdly paternalistic set of values that provided him with his downfall, and rightly so.

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