Progress!

>> Monday, January 4, 2010

For Utah:

Salt Lake City's first openly gay council member will be installed on Monday.

Stan Penfold, a self-described liberal, will represent the diverse neighborhoods of Avenues and Capitol Hill.

A California native, Penfold moved to Utah in the 80s to practice landscape horticulture.

“I discovered I kind of liked it here,” Penfold told the Salt Lake Tribune. “Nobody was more surprised than I was.”

He soon began a second career in nonprofit activism, leading the Utah AIDS Foundation for more than a decade.

Penfold replaces Eric Jergensen, who stepped down after serving eight years as councilman.

Gay activism, however, is not Penfold's issue: “the city has done a remarkable job on the social-issue stuff.” Perhaps a reference to a recent law unanimously approved by lawmakers that outlaws discrimination in the city based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

On his campaign website, Penfold mentions gay rights only once, saying he “opposes fear-based efforts to legislate against or intimidate minority groups, whether they be immigrants, members of the LGBT community, or any racial or ethnic group.”

Instead, he'll focus on quality of life issues. “I want Salt Lake City government to see a city of neighborhoods,” he said. “People function well when they are recognized.”
I can only hope that this helps more people realize gays are just normal people and shouldn't be discriminated against.

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