Today, Mayor Jackie Biskupski and the Salt Lake City Council issued a joint statement to individuals doing business in Mississippi and North Carolina. The open letter invited businesses concerned about recent anti-LGBT legislation passed in Mississippi (HB1523) and North Carolina (HB2) to consider moving their business to Salt Lake City.
The letter, signed by the Mayor and all seven City Council Members, highlighted Salt Lake City’s efforts to establish an atmosphere of protection and equality for all people. In 2009, Salt Lake City adopted citywide ordinances prohibiting discrimination in employment and housing based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In 2015, the Utah State Legislature passed a similar measure.
“Fairness and equality are more than political footballs to be tossed around when politicians put politics over their humanity,” said Salt Lake City Council Chair James Rogers. “We as a City and a Council have taken actions over the years to make the Capital City a welcoming beacon for all.”
Mayor Jackie Biskupski took further action by issuing an executive memorandum prohibiting city funded or sponsored travel to Mississippi or North Carolina and joining Mayors Against Discrimination, a growing group of mayors across the nation, including New York City; San Francisco; Seattle; Philadelphia; Oakland, CA.; Portland, OR.; Santa Fe, NM; Tampa, FL; and Honolulu, fighting a recent wave of discriminatory laws being enacted or considered against LGBT individuals. The Salt Lake City travel prohibition is in effect until further notice and permits travel only when it is “necessary for the enforcement of Salt Lake City law, to meet prior contractual obligations, or for the protection of public health, safety, and welfare.”
“Salt Lake City embraces diversity and we recognize our success as a community depends on inclusion and protection for everyone,” said Mayor Biskupski. “Our nation and our local community has come too far to allow our progress to be undermined by desperate laws that seem designed only to limit opportunity and access for certain individuals”
The open letter issued by Mayor Biskupski and the Salt Lake City Council will be published online, promoted to businesses in Mississippi and North Carolina, and sent directly to targeted corporations, including PayPal, who have threatened to pull planned business from the states.