Leaders of Utah’s gay community have released a statement showing their “deep disappointment” with openly gay presidential candidate Fred Karger’s commercial being critical of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The commercial is running on cable stations in the Utah market through Monday.
Signed by philanthropist Bruce Bastian, Utah Pride Center Executive Director Valerie Larabee, Equality Utah Executive Director Brandie Balken, KRCL producer Troy Williams, and screenwriter and this year’s Utah Pride Grand Marshal Dustin Lance Black, the statement shows concern that the commercial may thwart recent gains in communication between church leaders and the gay community.
“As community leaders, and as Utahns, we reject the attempt by political operatives, of any party, to disrupt the breakthrough communications that have occurred over the past three years between the LGBT and LDS communities,” the statement reads. “Mr. Karger, once again, has put his own political gain above the health and well being of our community, misusing and misrepresenting the work of Dr. Caitlan Ryan and Bob Rees presented in the ‘Supportive Families, Healthy Children’ pamphlet. The Utah Pride Center and Equality Utah oppose the use of our youth for a quick headline or a fundraising opportunity.”
“We will not allow the rhetoric of Fred Karger to represent Utahns, both LDS and LGBT, without challenge. In the past three years, we have found that most Mormons and many LDS leaders are eager to speak with us, meet our families, hear our stories and start the journey toward greater understanding. Yes, the Mormon Church has more work to do to understand LGBT people. It appears Fred Karger has even more work to do to understand LDS people, and the constructive ways we can create a community that will truly support all young people, including those who are LGBT,” the statement continued.
Karger claims in the commercial that the church has run all 33 voter referendums against gay marriage and shows a stack of “secret Mormon documents” as proof of their involvement. He asked for a meeting with LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson to implore the church to “stop the hate,” but was denied.
Karger has not yet responded to the statement.
The commercial can be viewed here.