SLC Mayor-elect Biskupski meets with LDS Church leaders, weighs in on policy on kids with gay parents

Posted at 4:06 PM, Dec 10, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-10 23:54:09-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Mayor-elect Jackie Biskupski met with leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, discussing a wide variety of issues facing the city as she prepares to take office.

"Today's meeting was fantastic!" Biskupski told FOX 13 in an interview on Thursday following her meeting with LDS leaders.

The mayor-elect said she met with Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the LDS Church's Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé, and Michael Purdy, the LDS Church's government affairs liaison. Topics included watershed, air quality, homelessness, economic development, education and transportation, both Biskupski and a church spokesman said.

"We have always enjoyed the working relationship we’ve had with those who have served as the Mayor of Salt Lake City and found it productive to discuss matters of importance to the City," LDS Church spokesman Eric Hawkins said in a statement to FOX 13. "The discussion was broad and included homelessness, economic development, education, transportation and other items relevant to the City. We are eager to continue our conversations with Mayor Biskupski and wish her well as she begins her service."

Salt Lake City Mayor-elect Jackie Biskupski in an interview with FOX 13's Ben Winslow.

Salt Lake City Mayor-elect Jackie Biskupski in an interview with FOX 13's Ben Winslow.

As she prepares to take office in January, Biskupski said she wanted to work with LDS Church leaders on some issues facing Salt Lake City. The LDS Church is a major property holder, as well as a political and cultural force in the state; Biskupski is the mayor of an increasingly liberal city.

She said they have areas of common ground, particularly when it comes to addressing homelessness and air quality.

"There’s real opportunity to affect change when the LDS Church is involved," she said.

Biskupski said she did not bring up the LDS Church's recent policy decisions regarding LGBT people, but decided to put it in a letter that she gave to Elder Christofferson at Thursday's meeting.

The LDS Church recently updated some of its policies to declare married same-sex couples "apostates" subject to excommunication, and to state that children of same-sex couples cannot be baptized into the Mormon faith until they turn 18, move out of the home and renounce same-sex unions. The policies have prompted protests and criticism directed at the Mormon faith.

Biskupski -- a lesbian and the mother of an adopted child -- said it was her hope the policy would change in the future.

"I shared my concerns about the children and creating this tension," she told FOX 13. "You know, if my son Archie at some point wanted to become a member of the LDS Church, he would have to essentially have to say goodbye to his mother to do it. I don’t want that kind of atmosphere to exist in this community and I’m hoping it doesn’t last long."