News (USA)

Will Salt Lake City be getting its first openly gay mayor?

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Former Utah lawmaker Jackie Biskupski will learn Tuesday if she will become the first openly gay mayor of Salt Lake City, the capital of the conservative state where just last week the Mormon church and a small town judge delivered setbacks for the LGBT community.

Biskupski, 49, held a significant lead over incumbent Ralph Becker in partial results released after the Nov. 3 election. Full results will be released later Tuesday.

A victory by Biskupski would mark a milestone for LGBT people in Utah who have made major strides in recent years.

However, that progress was temporarily marred last week when a judge ordered a foster child to be removed from a lesbian couple and placed with a heterosexual couple. The judge cited the well-being of the child as the reason for his order.

The ruling set off a firestorm around the state and nation. The judge quickly reversed his decision and took himself off the case.

Days earlier, the Salt Lake City-based Mormon church issued new rules targeting gay members and their children, prompting widespread backlash.

The new policy bans baptisms for children of gay parents until the kids turn 18 and disavow same-sex relationships.

Biskupski is not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and said she hopes the faith reconsiders the policy. She told The Salt Lake Tribune that one of her first goals as mayor would be to meet with church leaders and discuss the policy.

The church and the LGBT community have “come so far in the last year to bridge the gaps between us, that this new policy feels confusing to many,” she said in a statement.

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