Gay SLC Council members pen letter to state legislators

Three gay members of the Salt Lake City Council wrote an open letter to state legislators about their “concern and disappointment” that several Utah House lawmakers complained that a Utah Transit Authority bus wrapped with Pride colors and messages would appear in the Utah Pride Parade last weekend.

Rep. Candice Pierucci, R-Herriman; Rep. Kay J. Christofferson, R-Lehi; House Majority Leader Mike Schultz, R-Hooper; and Rep. Colin Jack, R-St. George notified UTA officials that they objected to the bus appearing in the parade.

UTA promoted the pride-wrapped bus in a tweet days before the parade, which prompted the House members to demand UTA take care of the “problem.”

“Honestly this is the last thing I want to deal with right now,” Schultz said in a text made public by The Salt Lake Tribune. “It seriously would be best if you made the change on your own. Let me know what you guys come up with.”

The wrap was paid for by private funds, according to UTA and the Tribune.

Three openly gay Salt Lake City Council members took offense to the treatment of the issue, writing:

    To all who represent Utahns in the Utah State Legislature:
    We are writing to express our deep concern and disappointment about the complaints made by Legislators that led to the removal of the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) pride-wrapped bus from the Utah Pride Parade.
    UTA provides an essential service for all members of our community, regardless of sexual preference, gender identity, income, age, or race. The Pride Rainbow stands as a welcome sign to all, especially the most marginalized, that we are safe to ride. The pressure to exclude the bus from the parade sends a disheartening message to the LGBTQIA+ community and undermines progress toward inclusivity, belonging, and acceptance.
    Lawmakers asking for an apology from UTA reinforce the message that government systems can decide that some people do not belong; it reminds us of Rosa Parks being expected to give up her seat for a white passenger.
    As lawmakers who represent all Utahns, your opportunity is to invest taxpayer funds responsibly and create an environment where all individuals feel safe and valued. And that includes transit.
    Rather than being considered a political statement, we applaud UTA’s display of inclusion and use of the bus with pride wrapping — which was privately funded — that would have served as a powerful symbol of support, demonstrating that Utah embraces diversity and stands against intentional exclusion and discrimination of all kinds.
    We must remember the LGBTQIA+ community continues to face unique challenges and often encounters prejudice right here in the Utah cities they love dearly.
    In the spirit of unity and compassion, we wish the Pride Parade could have been used as a time to focus on the well-being of our fellow citizens and to uphold the values of inclusivity, respect, and love.
    By always keeping that in mind, we, as lawmakers in our great state, can effectively embrace our communities’ differences and celebrate our shared humanity.
    Thank you for your attention to this matter. We have the power to build a community that cherishes the goodness in every individual and helps them feel safe, supported, and valued.
    With hope for a more inclusive future,

Darin Mano, Chair
Salt Lake City Council Member, District Five

Alejandro Puy
Salt Lake City Council Member, District Two

Chris Wharton
Salt Lake City Council Member, District Three

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