LDS Dems declare ‘pro-family’ positions, seek to lure Republicans to their tent

Posted at 11:40 AM, Aug 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-17 21:11:57-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- In the midst of Donald Trump's divisive presidential campaign, a group of Mormon Democrats are hoping to lure more people to their side.

LDS Dems, a caucus of the Utah Democratic Party, released a "pro-family" public policy report on Wednesday and blasted their GOP opponents as being "anti-family." The caucus cited Republican Party platforms and candidate positions on Muslims, refugees, immigrants, LGBTQ rights, abortion and health care.

House Minority Leader Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, joins members of the LDS Dems caucus to announce a "pro-family" position. (Image by Ben Winslow, FOX 13 News)

House Minority Leader Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, joins members of the LDS Dems caucus to announce a "pro-family" position. (Image by Ben Winslow, FOX 13 News)

But at a news conference outside the Utah State Capitol, LDS Dems acknowledged they didn't agree on everything -- especially when it came to issues like abortion and gay rights. The LDS Dems position paper states the U.S. Supreme Court has settled the issue of marriage equality, but The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints remains opposed to same-sex marriage. The caucus did call for more protections for LGBTQ people.

"We're not saying this is the position of all LDS Democrats, this is the position of the caucus. What we are saying is these are concrete policies that Democrats support that can strengthen families and these are policies where Republican policies are failing families," said Crystal Young-Otterstrom, the LDS Dems chair.

On abortion, LDS Dems acknowledged that some members are pro-life, while others are pro-choice. Instead of declaring a position, the group said the state should have comprehensive sex education to reduce unplanned pregnancies.

"They're based on facts not ideology," House Minority Leader Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, said of the report.

On immigration and refugees, LDS Dems issued its strongest statement -- declaring that "God led refugee Brigham Young to declare Utah as 'the Right Place,' primarily because all the other 'places' had expelled the Mormons. Americans, Utahns and Mormons are all descended from immigrants and refugees. Demonizing them today is thus beyond hypocritical."

In a statement late Wednesday, Utah Republican Party Chairman James Evans blasted the LDS Dems.

Read the Utah GOP statement here:

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According to a 2014 Pew Research Study, 70 percent of Mormons identify as Republican or "lean Republican." Only 19 percent identify as Democrat or "lean Democrat." Still, LDS Dems are hoping to lure moderate Republicans experiencing heartburn on Donald Trump. They're also hoping that Republicans turned off by Trump will consider Democratic candidates in local races.

"We're playing a long game here," said LDS Dems Vice-Chair Eric Biggart.

Rep. King said Utahns have rejected Trump, pointing to many high-profile GOP members in the state who have vowed "never Trump."

"Donald Trump and today's Republican Party positions simply don't reflect Utah values," he said.

Read the LDS Dems report here: