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Locals Say Biskupski Victory Not About Making History

Whittney Evans

Jackie Biskupski has garnered national attention for being elected Salt Lake City’s first openly gay mayor. But here at home, Biskupski and her supporters are downplaying the historic nature of this election.

Salt Lake City has been recognized as a gay-friendly city for quite some time. Nationally, though it still may come as a surprise to those who associate the city with the Mormon Church. Tuesday night, Biskupski supporters celebrated the victory. Neil Webster managed Biskupski’s campaign when she ran for the Utah legislature. He says Biskupski’s sexual orientation had little to do with her election as Salt Lake City Mayor.

“But I think that going forward, any young gay person growing up in Utah or the surrounding areas is gonna know who Jackie Biskupski is and is gonna know that if she can do it, so can I,” Webster says.

Biskupski has said she plans to speak with leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints about a recent decision to exclude the children of gay parents from being baptized in the church. Philanthropist, LGBT activist and former LDS church member Bruce Bastian says he can’t see Biskupski making any more headway on LGBT issues within the church than Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker. Bastian supported Becker in the election.

“The one thing that might change these issues are when they have actual members of the church rising up in opposition to what they have done and that’s been happening,” Bastian says.

Biskupski will be inaugurated January 4th

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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