Harvey Milk Blvd. in Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City inaugurates ‘Harvey Milk Boulevard’ in symbol of the state’s increasingly liberal stance on LGBT rights

Salt Lake City, Utah, seems like an unlikely place to host one of the country’s only streets named after Harvey Milk, but then again, it also seemed unlikely to elect one of the country’s first openly gay mayors. Religious demographics and stereotypes, as the state capital illustrates, can be deceiving.

Salt Lake City’s reputation for being unreceptive toward gay rights largely comes from the national involvement of the Mormon church in anti-gay marriage efforts — particularly their concentrated effort in 2008 to pass Prop 8 and ban gay marriage in California. In a state where Harvey became the first ever openly gay elected official, those efforts stung the reputation of the Latter Day Saints and, by association, Utah itself.

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