Pride 2014

Utah Pride 2014: Pete Suazo Political Action Award: Sim Gill

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Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill

The Utah Pride Center will bestow the 2014 Pete Suazo Political Action Award to Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill at the Utah Pride Festival. The award was created in 2001 to observe Senator Pete Suazo’s enthusiastic efforts in pushing hate crime legislation forward in Utah. It is awarded to an elected official who exhibits outstanding drive in regard to equal rights for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer community in Utah through legislation and policy.

District Attorney Gill has been a staunch supporter of the LGBTQ community for several years. He played a critical role in Judge Shelby’s ruling on Amendment 3, which led to several same-sex couples marrying soon after the ruling was announced. Standing up for these issues comes easy to Gill: “I have an incredible sense of pride in our individual and civil liberties, the responsibility we have as citizens, and the expectation we have of government. I have devoted my professional life to public service because, in an old-fashioned way, it means a lot to me,” he said.

Growing up in India, Gill witnessed several instances of human suffering. However, he noticed that those people remained thankful and gracious, no matter how high the odds. He took these lessons with him when he and his family immigrated to Utah when Gill was 10 years old. Gill would eventually graduate from Kearns High School and continue on to study law at Lewis and Clark University in Washington. In 2000, he was named chief city prosecutor after being a prosecutor in both Salt Lake City and Layton.

Gill’s belief that government should be a vehicle for helping all citizens it serves and his efforts in building a better community have earned him several other awards from publications such as the Salt Lake Tribune, as well as from institutions including the University of Utah.

However, the Pete Suazo Political Action Award has affected Sim on a very distinct, intimate level: He lost a close friend in the 1990s to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Before his untimely death, the two of them spoke at length about the future. They spoke of the day when the LGBTQ community would be recognized as equal under the law and when same-sex couples would be allowed to legally marry. Gill’s efforts in the Dec. 20, 2013, ruling were, in part, in honor of his friend.

“This brings the conversation full-circle and grants a sense of personal and spiritual closure for all of us,” Sim said

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