Milk became the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in the U.S. when he won a seat on San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors in 1977. A disgruntled former city supervisor assassinated him and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone at City Hall in 1978.
The activist’s life was memorialized in the Oscar-winning 2008 movie “Milk,” and he also has been honored with a commemorative stamp and a posthumous Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama. The San Diego City Council approved naming a street for Milk in 2012, something officials said was a first.
The honorary name will be placed on part of a street that is nine blocks from Mormon church headquarters. Temple Square was the site of protests in 2008 after the church supported efforts to pass a short-lived gay marriage ban in California.
Mormon leaders subsequently softened their tone, backing a Utah anti-discrimination law last year that protects gay and transgender people from housing and employment discrimination while safeguarding the rights of religious groups and individuals.
As many as two-thirds of Utah’s 3 million residents are believed to be members of the Mormon religion, though some are more involved in the faith than others.
Utah’s capital also has supported a thriving gay community. An annual LGBT pride parade is the second largest in the state — behind only the yearly celebration of Mormon pioneers.
The city’s first openly gay mayor, Jackie Biskupski, took office this year, as well as its second sitting gay councilman. Derek Kitchen and his husband were one of three couples who sued to overturn the state’s same-sex marriage ban.
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