The Slatest

Salt Lake City—Which Is Still in Utah—May Have Just Elected an Openly Gay Mayor

Gay rights protesters hold hands in front of the Mormon Temple on the Main Street Plaza in Salt Lake City, Utah.  

Photo by George Frey/Getty Images

The good people of Salt Lake City went to the polls on Tuesday to elect a new mayor and when the votes were tallied up Tuesday night, Democrat Jackie Biskupski came out on top. While that may not seem all that interesting to you, non-resident of Salt Lake City, Biskupski also happens to be openly gay. Since Salt Lake City is still the capital of Utah and Utah is still, well, a “conservative state with a history of hostility toward gays and lesbians,” a Biskupski victory over a two-term incumbent would be quite something. “We have a reputation here, right? But … this community continues to move forward in strides that are mind-blowing,” Biskupski said. “I’m so proud of our community.”


The election, however, is not yet a done-deal. Despite a 1,450-vote lead, the race was close enough that the several thousand mail-in ballots now being counted could prove decisive, though the Salt Lake Tribune says a change in the outcome “appears unlikely.” As of Tuesday evening, Biskupski had a 4-point edge on current city mayor, Ralph Becker, who is also a Democrat. The city’s mayoral election is non-partisan; state law stipulates the official results will be released on Nov. 17. That hasn’t stopped Biskupski’s LGBTQ supporters from celebrating. “If Utah can do it, anybody can do it,” Biskupski’s spokesperson said of the potential victory.