Senator Orrin Hatch wants people to know that his seemingly antigay charge--that "gays and lesbians don't pay tithing, their religion is politics"--was intended to be a compliment, The Salt Lake Tribune reports.
The U.S. senator from Utah made the comments earlier in the month when speaking to a group of Republicans in St. George. He says he meant to urge those gathered to band together like unions, environmentalists, personal-injury lawyers, and gay activists do for Democrats.
"Many gay people are vociferous Democrats who are willing to pony up money for politics. That's something I admire," he told the Tribune Friday. "I don't know how I could have been much more complimentary the way I said it."
He also says that he wasn't trying to imply that gay people aren't religious. "There are some very, very good gay people who are very religious who undoubtedly pay tithing," he said. "That wasn't what I was talking about. I was talking about politics and praising them for getting involved."