It was good news that Stan Penfold won the Salt Lake City Council District 3 race (he's the one who supported gay rights and neighborhood bars).
And, yes, Penfold is gay, and as far as anybody can tell, Nov. 3 marked the first time a gay man was elected to the Council.%uFFFD---
Of course, it's always possible that, over the decades, some closet-cases may have got there on the DL. (Oh, we all have our theories, and nobody's naming names.) But, since Penfold is verifiably the first one with enough personal integrity to be out of the closet, maybe it's appropriate that both dailies described him as "openly gay"%uFFFD%uFFFD-- if only by way of introducing readers to this exceptional turn of events.%uFFFD
Still, it sets off alarm bells. We know from past experience that copy editors are liable to stick to these precedents. For years, state Sen. Scott McCoy was consistently identified as "openly gay Sen. Scott McCoy" in every story -- McCoy's sexual orientation was such a novelty that "openly gay" became part of his title, even in stories unrelated to gay issues.
I'm guessing we can look forward to a year or two of stories reporting that "openly gay Councilman Stan Penfold voted for the creation of a new zoning designation" and so on. After all, he's openly gay, so he must be into zoning. %uFFFD%uFFFD
Personally, I'm looking forward to those neighborhood bars. It'll be nice to be able to go out for cocktails without having to mix in with all those slick%uFFFDdowntown types. And then to be able to walk home afterwards! This really may be the beginning of a new era. %uFFFD