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Utah Leaders And LGBT Community React To Orlando Shooting

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Utahans reacted to the Orlando shooting on Sunday with anger and sorrow.

Salt Lake City Council member Derek Kitchen says the news of the mass shooting was difficult to take yesterday, especially because the gunman targeted the LGBT community.

“There’s just a real sense of disappointment and sadness and some anger that we are faced with so much gun violence in this country and that just by being part of the LGBT community we are more likely to be targeted for a hate crime,” says Kitchen.

Kitchen is a pioneer for LGBT rights. He and his husband MoudySbeity were plaintiffs in the lawsuit that challenged Utah’s same sex marriage ban. He says the state has come a long way, but that acts of violence against the LGBT community and other vulnerable groups are a concern.

“It’s hard for us to imagine something like this happening in Salt Lake City, but if it can happen, it can happen right here in Utah,” says Kitchen.

Other Utah leaders spoke out against the violence in Orlando yesterday. Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski said she reacted to the news as both a city leader and a member of the LGBT community. She called for prayers for the victims and their families. Governor Gary Herbert called the shooting a despicable and cowardly act. He ordered flags to be flown at half-staff through Thursday.  A vigil is planned for Monday evening on the east steps of the Salt Lake City and County Building. It’s organized by Equality Utah and will begin at 7.

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