LDS Dems pitch ‘pro-family’ report to attract Utah voters

Source: Deseret News

Looking to capitalize on Utahns’ distaste for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, the LDS Democratic caucus put out a “pro-family” report Wednesday that the group says more closely reflects the state’s values.

Rep. Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, said LDS Dems can’t in good conscience call themselves pro-family unless they’re looking out for the welfare of all families regardless of wealth, sex, race, gender, religion or sexual orientation.

“Some Republicans, particularly in Utah, seem to think that the most important defense of the family takes place in the pages of a dictionary,” he said at a news conference on the steps of the state Capitol. “We beg to differ.”

King said he hopes Republicans will reject their “anti-family” policies, which amount to “little more than cafeteria morality.”

Titled “Defending the Family,” the report calls on the state’s elected officials to protect the family through policies dealing with immigration and refugees, health care, education, the environment, the LGBT community, paid family leave, criminal justice reform, family planning and poverty.

Utah Republican Party Chairman James Evans called LDS Dems a “conflicted” group that is promoting “socialism” under the guise of defending the family.

Evans said in a statement that LDS Democrats are “in effect advocating that the big hand of government usurp the role that religious institutions have played in guiding the family for over 2,000 years. There is real irony when the LDS Democrats want to remove the church from its role in guiding families and replace it with the government.”

LDS Democrats can’t walk the walk when they reference themselves as a religious entity in the political arena, he said, adding that they’re an ally of the Democratic National Committee “that undermines the family by promoting the destruction of over 400,000 unborn infants each year.”

According to the report, LDS Dems considers abortion a deeply personal consideration and that the group has both pro-life and pro-choice members.

LDS Dems Chairwoman Crystal Young-Otterstrom said compassionate immigration laws, caring for the poor, cleaning up the air and spending to improve education are pro-family positions.

“And that’s what we’re saying to the Utah voter. The GOP has largely sold you a bag of goods,” she said.

The report cites various studies and quotes LDS Church apostles and leaders. The section on “our LGBTQ brothers and sisters” notes the LDS Church has a clear position on the definition of marriage, and the report doesn’t comment on those teachings.

“We’re not going wade into the marriage debate. What we’re just saying is that’s the law of the land. Now we need to treat everybody equally. We need to be compassionate. We need to make sure our policies are pro-family, not exclusionary,” said Jeff Swift, LDS Dems policy chairman.

Eric Biggart, LDS Dems vice chairman, said Republican policies about families have been uncharacteristically short-sighted in 2016. He said the report intends to present the long view for strengthening families.

“Donald Trump in particular has said nothing of value for the next 20 or 25 years, let alone how my grandchildren are going to be doing,” Biggart said. “He cares about almost nothing.”

A Pew Research Center study released this year found 70 percent of American Mormons identify as Republicans, compared with only 19 percent who identify as Democrats, the biggest gap in favor of the GOP among 30 religious groups the center analyzed.

King said he expects those numbers to change after this election because Trump and today’s Republican Party and its positions don’t reflect Utah values.

“What we’re going to see is more and more Utah Mormons and LDS Church members across the country and the world will recognize that the Republican Party has strayed from its roots,” he said.

And, King added, Trump is accelerating the process.

Read the Deseret News article here.

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