Utah's LGBT community may soon have reason to celebrate, as a proposal filed by Equality Utah has been announced to rename a Salt Lake City street in honor of slain LGBT icon Harvey Milk. The move, planned in partnership with Mayor Ralph Becker and Councilman Stan Penfold, would see 900 South become Harvey Milk Boulevard.
Over the decades, Salt Lake City has renamed a number of streets in honor of civil rights leaders, such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and and Cesar Chavez. The city, of course, serves as the heart of the Mormon church, and with the Salt Lake Temple situated less than ten blocks from the road that the proposal intends to rename, the move has the potential to cause controversy. Speaking on this, Fox News reports Troy Williams, Executive Director of Equality Utah, saying:
“I think 10 years from now, 20 years from now Harvey Milk won’t just be an icon for the LGBT community. Harvey Milk will be an icon for all Americans and all Utahns. I think in time, all of Utah will be proud to have a street named after him."
Deseret News reports Williams adding:
"Harvey is a true pioneer and icon. He encouraged all people to share their lives openly and to build coalitions with other groups. Our hope is by naming a prominent downtown street after him, we'll send a message to all LGBT Utahns that they have value, they're loved and, like Harvey, they too can change the world."
In 2006, Salt Lake City ended the practice of renaming city streets. However, Penfold, the city's first elected openly gay councilman, told Deseret News that it was an unofficial moratorium, and that he expects the city to be renamed by the end of the year. The Salt Lake City Council is expected to vote on the measure in the coming months.