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Portraits of Change Rocky Anderson Mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah from 2000 through 2008, Rocky Anderson has been charged with having “attracted the entire gay community to come and live in Salt Lake County,” according to Utah State Senator Chris Buttars. As with many of our community’s advocates, Anderson has faced pointed opposition to his stance on equality for LGBT citizens. Regardless, he has allied himself strongly to the issues, even being described as having “gone out on a limb to defend gay rights.” As early as his bid for US Senate in 1996, Anderson has been a proponent of marriage equality. Merrill Cook, his Republican opponent in that race, targeted Anderson’s pro-gay position as a focal point and wedge issue for the campaign. Despite criticism and disfavor among constituents, Anderson remained committed to protecting the rights of the LGBT community.

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In 2005, during his term as Salt Lake City Mayor, he extended domestic partnership benefits to all city employees through Executive Order. “Fundamental principles of fairness and justice obligated me to grant equal benefits to same-sex domestic partners of employees,” remarked Anderson in a 2008 Times Online interview. “While my Executive Order granting equal benefits was unpopular in some quarters, even spurring lawsuits, it was the right thing to do.” Today Rocky Anderson remains committed to protecting the rights of gays and lesbians and other minorities. He is currently serving as President of High Road for Human Rights, an organization devoted to the defense and awareness of those affected by social injustices throughout the world. At times, it is difficult to comprehend that in the United States our minority continues to find itself in the position of striving and fighting for the same basic rights and acceptance that

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so many others in our nation take for granted. That LGBT citizens must continue to work against the same prejudicial arguments which have sought to suppress us for decades is ludicrous. No doubt we will continue to face these obstacles on some scale for years to come; however, it is with recent victories in places like Vermont and Iowa and New Hampshire that we are reminded that the promise of equal rights in America applies to the LGBT community too. And no matter what lies along the road ahead, we can rest assured that it is not a journey that we will have to take alone.

Volume 4, Issue 2 (Summer/Autumn 2009)  

Heartland in Gay America

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