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Salt Lake City could have its first lesbian mayor

Salt Lake City could have its first lesbian mayor

Home of the Church of Latter Day Saints, you wouldn’t expect Salt Lake City to vote for a gay mayor.

Yet with a 1450-vote lead announced this Tuesday, Jackie Biskupski will almost certainly be a city first.

The mother of one leads two-term mayor Ralph Becker with a 5% lead. She will be mayor if she maintains this lead up to November 17.

Previously she served as Utah state representative seven times; during her last election she was voted in with 78% of the votes.

She told PEOPLE her victory will be: ‘A very big deal.

‘We’ve come to the point in my community where we value people on their merits, instead of some category that they’ve been placed in.’

Biskupski has been openly gay since 1998. This year has also seen a historic campaign from transgender candidate Sophia Hawes-Tingey, for Midvale, Utah council.

‘I do think [Tuesday] was an historic night for Salt Lake City and for Utah,’ Pam Perlich, director of demographic research at the University of Utah, told Deseret News.

‘This is a population of people who have been part of humanity forever and have not felt safe to be visible until quite recently.’

The news will be welcome to Salt Lake City’s LGBTI citizens who had to contend with the blow of new conservative policies taken against gay people by the Mormon Church.

The Church announced Saturday children of same sex couples cannot live with their parents and must disavow same sex relationships to be welcomed in the church.

Furthermore married gay Mormons are now considered apostates – disobeying a tenant of Mormonism – and will need to undergo a disciplinary procedure to remain with the Church.

Ex-Mormon Mariesa Jenae from Salt Lake City described the news as ‘absolutely devastating’.