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Gay GOP presidential candidate hopes to target LDS Church in debate

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 10 2011 12:59 p.m. MDT

The Los Angeles Times ran a profile today on Fred Karger, the gay-rights activist who is a Republican candidate for president.

In the piece, "The Los Angeles Times's Mark Z. Barabak highlights the gay Republican's history of tension with the Mormon Church, and the role it plays in driving his 2012 campaign," a Politico post noted today.

The L.A. Times' piece titled, "Gay presidential candidate Fred Karger has a message," says Karger is running to tell Americans "that not only is it OK to be gay, it's also possible to be gay and an unflinching candidate for the nation's highest office." Apparently, Karger's message also involves targeting The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on a national stage.

"(Karger) founded Californians Against Hate to oppose Proposition 8, the measure banning same-sex marriage," the story said. Karger "used his expertise to expose" what the Times called "secret funding" of Prop 8 by the Mormon Church.

"To some extent," it continued, "his presidential campaign is an extension of that effort."

He hopes to be included in a nationally televised debate in which he could pressure Mitt Romney, the GOP front-runner and a prominent Mormon to change the church's position on same-sex marriage. In Karger's view, Barabak reported, "Romney could make that happen with a phone call."

The LDS Church has long opposed same-sex marriage, but is open and adamant about its support for gay and lesbian rights in areas such as housing and employment protection.

"As a church, our doctrinal position is clear: any sexual activity outside of marriage is wrong, and we define marriage as between a man and a woman. However, that should never, ever be used as justification for unkindness," the LDS Church said in a 2010 statement delivered by church spokesman Michael Otterson. "Jesus Christ, whom we follow, was clear in His condemnation of sexual immorality, but never cruel ... The church's doctrine is based on love ... The Church recognizes that those of its members who are attracted to others of the same sex experience deep emotional, social and physical feelings ... There is no question that this is difficult, but church leaders and members are available to help lift, support and encourage fellow members who wish to follow church doctrine. Their struggle is our struggle."

The statement went on to recognize that some would disagree with the church's stance, as Karger does, but the church hoped both sides remember to "love one another" and to "treat each other with respect as brothers and sisters and fellow children of God, no matter how much we may differ from one another."

EMAIL: hboyd@desnews.com

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