There’s a reason why I love Mormons. I wrote about it before in “My Gay Love for Mormons” and even defended Mitt Romney’s religion during the 2012 Presidential election. But my love for them is a profound one and I was reminded of it last week.
I was reminded of it because of something Senator Jeff Flake did. Yes, I said Senator Flake, the same man I’ve criticized in the past. In my defense to that criticism, I know how awesome Senator Flake can be, and want him to be that way, year round.) I’m talking about his mostly unwavering support for the Employee Non-Discrimination Act. And his vote for the bill.
Every time he votes for ENDA, I am reminded that he is doing it because of his religious believes. Let me take you back to when I was a baby-advocate and tell you a little story. The year was 2007 and I had joined the Human Rights Campaign’s Arizona Steering committee to phone bank. This was my very the first time phone banking and so I was nervous. The task at hand was to call HRC members in Arizona and invite them to send an email to then-Congressman Jeff Flake and ask him to vote in favor of a fully inclusive ENDA.
(Then-Congressman Jeff Flake had already voted for one of the two bills that came before the Congress – see “Peter Northfelt Is Simply Wrong About the Human Rights Campaign” and “I Haven’t Been Fired for Being Gay, Yet” for further details about ENDA).
As soon as I heard we were calling Flake, I wanted to go home. It was pointless, I had decided, he was a lost cause in my mind.
But then that all changed when I heard a story.
A staff member from then-Congressman Harry Mitchell’s office was their to support our cause and give us some pointers. He decided to tell us about a conversation between Harry Mitchell and Jeff Flake. According to the staff member, Mitchell decided to meet with Flake after Flake’s “yeah” vote on the first ENDA bill had surprised him. What Mitchell learned in that conversation was that because Flake was Mormon, his values have raised him to be against discrimination.
“Any discrimination,” the staff member said.
So, it didn’t really surprise me when Senator Jeff Flake voted in favor of the Employee Non-Discrimination Act just last week. ENDA is exactly where his values and my values meet. And it’s on things like this where gay Americans, like myself, and members of the Church of Latter Day Saints, like Senator Jeff Flake, can continue to meet in the middle.
I know I’m not the only gay American who wants the Employee Non-Discrimination Act passed by the house. And I know Senator Jeff Flake isn’t the Mormon who is against discrimination.
That’s why I want to joining Fred Karger, author of “Can the Mormon Church Save ENDA” and am calling on the Mormon members of the House of Representatives to ask Speaker Boehner for a vote on the Employee Non-Discrimination Act.
According to Karger’s article:
“There are 10 Mormon members of the House of Representatives. If the Mormon Church would use its influence to get all 10 Mormon House members to support ENDA and have them to put some friendly pressure on Speaker Boehner, ENDA would likely become law…”
“If Reps. Bob Bishop (R-Utah), Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), Eni Faleomavaega (R-A.S.), Wally Herger (R-Calif.), Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), Jim Matheson (D-Utah), Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.), Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) and Chris Stewart (R-Utah) would pressure Speaker Boehner to call for a vote, we could finally end the scourge of discrimination in this country against an entire class of it citizens.”
Rep. Bob Bishop, Republican from Utah
DC Office: 202-225-0453
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Republican from Utah
DC Office: (202) 225-7751
Rep. Jim Matheson, Democrat from Utah
DC Office:(202) 225-3011
Rep. Buck McKeon, Republican from California
DC Office: (202) 225-1956
Rep. Raul Labrador, Republican from Idaho
DC Office: (202) 225 – 6611
Rep. Matt Salmon, Republican from Arizona
DC Office: 202-225-2635
Rep. Mike Simpson, Republican from Idaho
DC Office: 202-225-5531
Rep. Chris Stewart, Republican from Utah
DC Office: 202-225-9730