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
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
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
In related news, openly
lesbian Annise Parker was sworn in on Saturday as mayor of Houston,
the nation's fourth largest city.