Metro Weekly

Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski: LGBT opponents are “desperate”

Newly-elected lesbian mayor says those pushing for discriminatory laws are fighting a losing battle

Jackie Biskupski (Credit: Jackie Biskupski for Salt Lake City Mayor campaign).
Jackie Biskupski (Credit: Jackie Biskupski for Salt Lake City Mayor campaign).

“We all have religious freedom. … People using that to oppress groups of people are desperate. 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.”

–Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski (D), speaking to an audience at the National Center for Lesbian Rights’ annual Palm Springs Garden Party, as reported by KHOU. Biskupski, who was honored with a “Trailblazer Award,” was commenting on the slew of bills, introduced in various states, that seek to curb LGBT people’s rights under the guise of protecting religious freedom.

Biskupski, the first openly gay mayor of Salt Lake City, told the crowd at the Palm Springs event that as states like North Carolina and Mississippi pass bills allowing discrimination against the LGBT community, mayors need to assume a larger role in defending the civil rights of their constituents.

“I have to lead change,” Biskupski 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.”

So far, Biskupski has not called for banning all official government travel to states with discriminatory laws, like North Carolina. But several of her fellow elected leaders have, including the mayors of Atlanta, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, New York City, and Seattle, and the city council of Portland, Ore. 

“Everyone deserves to be treated equally and we are done with oppression,” Biskupski added. “We are done with being held back.”

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