Basing an entire state’s population as right- or left-wing, based
on a combination of stereotypes and the party that won it in the
last major election just doesn’t make sense to me.
So when I find exceptions to the designation, I try to highlight
them to show that we can enact progressive policies
anywhere, regardless of the perceived difficulty.
Salt Lake City, Utah, the capital city of a state that has been
right-wing typecast, has provided a venue for now two very
progressive leaders. Rocky Anderson, the about-to-be-former-mayor
of Salt Lake City, received national attention when he called for
the impeachment of President Bush. He’s also instituted a series
of radical environmental policies and curbed urban sprawl. Anderson
also took a major stand for LGBTQ rights while in office – not
what you would expect from a state known for its large Mormon
To continue to prove the red moniker wrong, the city has elected
another progressive, LGBTQ-friendly mayor, Ralph Becker, who is set
to take office in January. And on his first day in office, Becker
has vowed to dispatch an executive order that would require city
contractors to provide domestic-partner benefits.
Some of Becker’s other LGBTQ-focused priorities include:
- Pushing the City Council on his first day to establish a city
registry for domestic partnerships.
- Presenting to the council on his first day a new
nondiscrimination ordinance that would expand the current rule to
cover housing, realty, employment, public accommodation and city
- Working to change the city’s retirement policy to allow an
employee to name a domestic partner or another designee as a
Not bad, Salt Lake. Not bad at all.