(KCPW News) Five Republican presidential candidates will appear on the ballot during Utah’s primary election later this month, one of them, the nation’s first openly gay presidential candidate from a major party. Fred Karger kicked off his Utah primary campaign in Salt Lake City Friday, saying although he knows Mitt Romney has secured the nomination, he still has an important message he wants to be heard.
“I am a Republican who has been a political consultant for 30 plus years,” said Karger. “I am very concerned about the Republican Party. One of the reasons that I am at BYU and so many other universities around the country is I want to try and bring younger people into the party and talking about opening up this Republican Party, the big tent.”
Karger’s message also centers on improving life for the LGBT community. He recently sent a letter to Church President Thomas S. Monson, hoping to meet with the church leader to discuss treating all church members equally.
“Thirty-six years ago, in 1978, the Mormon Church changed its policy and allowed blacks into the priesthood,” Karger said. “I hope to meet with President Monson to discuss a similar change now. LGBT Mormons need to be treated with dignity and respect and they need to live their lives openly and honestly.”
Karger founded the Californians Against Hate organization, a group that drew attention to major donors to the Proposition 8 campaign to overturn gay marriage in that state. He has appeared on the ballot in five other states.