Salt Lake City’s gay mayor destroys conservative bids to recast discrimination as ‘religious freedom’
The openly gay mayor of Utah’s largest city took a shot at the wave of anti-LGBT laws being passed based upon so-called “religious freedom” grounds, calling their supporters “desperate,” reports KHOU.
Speaking at the National Center for Lesbian Rights’ annual Palm Springs Garden Party, Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski reminded people, “We all have religious freedom. We live in America.”
Republican Gov. Nathan Deal eventually vetoed anti-gay “religious freedom” legislation in Georgia after nationwide threats of boycotts — but conservatives continue to push for the laws, which critics say would legally permit discrimination against LGBT people.
“People using that to oppress groups of people are desperate,” Biskupski explained. “They are desperate to somehow be better than everyone else and in the end it will not last. We will all eventually be treated equally.”
Biskupski, a Democrat, was elected Salt Lake City’s first openly gay mayor about the time the Mormon Church issued a policy banning baptisms for children of same-sex parents.
After Utah’s dominant Church of Latter Day Saints labeled gay members, “apostates,” hundreds of church members left the church following a protest across the street from the LDS offices.
According to the mayor who took office in January, it’s up to her and other lawmakers across the country to change the culture.
“I have to lead change,” she said. “I have to do the work and I have to set an example. I have to make sure we are moving in the right direction as a city.”
A single mother with a 6-year-old son, Biskupski is currently making plans to marry her partner Betty Iverson.