On Friday June 22nd, Presidential Candidate Fred Karger launched a series of ads in the Utah market which villainized and stereotyped LDS families with LGBT children. Karger referenced the work of Dr. Caitlan Ryan, and the Family Acceptance Project. Dr. Ryan's work, intended to be a resource for families with LGBT children, was twisted and misquoted in such a way as to become a weapon against LDS parents.
It is Equality Utah's belief that youth suicide, depression and homelessness are complex and serious community issues, and a concern shared by all Utahns - LDS and LGBT alike. We believe the use of these issues for fundraising or grandstanding is unacceptable. We are not alone in this belief, and have released a joint statement with other LGBT organizations and leaders:
LGBT Community Leaders respond to the attack ad
"Salt Lake City UT - It is with deep disappointment that we viewed the recently released "Stop the Hate" ad by the Karger for President Campaign. 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. 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."
Bruce Bastian - philanthropist
Brandie Balken - Executive Director of Equality Utah
Valerie Larabee - Executive Director of the Utah Pride Center
Troy Williams - Producer of Radio Active
Dustin Lance Black - Screenwriter and Producer