Jackie Biskupski, a former member of the Utah House of Representatives, has become the first openly LGBT mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah. Biskupski defeated the incumbent, Ralph Becker, with 52% of the vote.
Biskupski’s election comes as tensions between the LGBT community and the traditionally conservative politics in Utah are on the rise. New policies by the Church of Latter-Day Saints directed towards LGBT members have been viewed as discriminatory.
A controversial ruling by Judge Scott Johansen ordered that a foster child be taken away from a lesbian couple and placed with a heterosexual couple. The judge later reversed his decision and stepped down from the case, following wide-spread criticism and calls for his impeachment.
Biskupski has announced plans to work with the Mormon Church on both of these issues.
‘I know that we have work to do still,’ Biskupski said. ‘And it is work that I take seriously. But I am a firm believer that in order for true equality to exist for anyone, we must pursue it for everyone.
‘Today is not just about making history,’ Biskupski also said. ‘It is about effecting change.’
Biskupski had previously been the first LGBT lawmaker in Utah to win election, when she became a member of the Utah House of Representatives, serving from 1999 to 2011. She is currently engaged to her partner, Betty Iverson.