(KCPW News) Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman is among those who will be recognized by Equality Utah as it holds its 11th Annual Allies Dinner in September. Executive Director Brandie Balken says the recent presidential candidate has done a great deal of work to promote understanding and encourage conversation about Utah’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
“It isn’t one act that Governor Huntsman and Mary Kaye Huntsman have done that make them appropriate to be honored at this event. It really has to do with the long-term attitudes, the long-term conversations that they’ve been able to generate and that they’ve helped harbor within our community of Utah,” she says.
Shortly before leaving office as governor, Huntsman declared his support for civil unions and a proposed nondiscrimination law.
Also being honored at this year’s event are artist Trevor Southey, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays or PFLAG Utah, and Ogden Residents Reverend Theresa Novak and Anne Spatola. Balken says it’s important to recognize those who have done a lot to promote equality for LGBT Utahns.
“What you really see is these sort of forerunners in having these conversations, in creating a cultural understanding, and in really continuing to move us forward, as we look at LGBT people as people, and as we look at LGBT people as contributors to our community, to our society, and to a Utah that we want to see in the future,” she says.
The dinner will be held September 27th in the Grand Ballroom of the Salt Palace Convention Center. Tickets are available to the public.