The nation's largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization is in Utah today to teach supporters how to win an election.

And even in the reddest of red states, the Human Rights Campaign believes it can be done.

Sen. Scott McCoy, D-Salt Lake, believes the training will stock "fair-minded" leaders in Utah politics in the future.

"It shows that there is a belief that progress and change can happen not just in blue or purple states, but that even in red states like conservative Utah," said McCoy, one of three openly gay state lawmakers. "There is important work to be done working to elect fair-minded people."

Salt Lake City is one of 18 training sites the HRC selected nationwide to mobilize pro-equality voters in the 2008 election season.

The HRC will train people in all aspects of running a campaign, from volunteer training and recruiting to how to effectively communicate with voters.

Volunteers can then use that training to elect candidates and fight ballot measures that limit the rights of the GLBT community.

The HRC is in the middle of a battle to defeat California's Proposition 8 to ban same-sex marriage, a measure The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints openly supports.

Marty Rouse, national field director for the HRC, said Proposition 8 has nothing to do with Salt Lake City's selection as a training site.

In 2006, the group helped to elect 211 pro-equality candidates, all the while ousting anti-gay-rights politicians like Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa. The National Journal ranked the HRC the second most successful political interest group because of its electoral success that year.

The training runs all day at the Salt Lake County Government Center, 2001 S. State.


E-mail: [email protected]