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Said Gill, moments after advising Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen to make licenses available to same-sex couples:
"Our commitment is to the rule of law, our commitment is to making sure the constitutional rights of every citizen in the United States and state of Utah are protected. As of this moment, that means we do not discriminate. If a person stands in line, as a citizen they have a right to apply for that license and we have a responsibility as a public institution to honor their expectation."
Online readers vote for Utahn of the Year
Comic Con impresario Dan Farr was the runaway winner with online voters for The Salt Lake Tribune’s 2013 Utahn of the Year.
The founder of Salt Lake City’s phenomenally successful fan convention attracted almost twice as many votes as the nearest competitor, which were not humans but water-friendly rodents, the so-called “Hero Beavers” whose dams helped keep diesel fuel leaking from a Chevron pipeline from reaching Willard Bay and, potentially, the Great Salt Lake.
The poll, which was posted at sltrib.com in early December, should be considered an unscientific sample of Utahns’ opinions. Almost 2,000 votes were cast.
The Tribune’s choice for Utahn of the Year, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill, was a distant third among voters, followed by University of Utah economist and demographer Pam Perlich.
The biggest newsmaker of the year, former Utah Attorney General John Swallow, was low in the voting, behind documentary film producer Geralyn Dreyfous and former Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis.
Actor-director Robert Redford, the daughters of convicted murderer Martin MacNeill, Sen. Mike Lee and Utah House Speaker Becky Lockhart came in at the bottom third of the ballot.
In dead last: Glenn Taylor of YouTube and Goblin Valley infamy.
Many readers offered write-in options. Among them: Maryann Martindale, executive director of the Alliance for a Better Utah; Tribune reporters Robert Gehrke and Tom Harvey, who broke and led the way on the Swallow saga; and the plaintiffs who filed suit against Amendment 3 — Karen Archer, Kate Call, Derek Kitchen, Moudi Sbeity, Laurie Wood and Kody Partridge. Their fight last week led to Judge Robert Shelby’s historic decision making Utah the 18th state to legalize same-sex marriage.
Past Utahns of the Year
2012 » Mormons Building Bridges
2011 » Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank
2010 » Kidnapping survivor Elizabeth Smart, her mother, Lois, and her sister, Mary Katherine
2009 » Kidnapping survivor Elizabeth Smart
2008 » Utah entrepreneur and philanthropist Larry H. Miller
2007 » First responders to tragedies including the Trolley Square shooting rampage and the Crandall Canyon Mine disaster
2006 » Latino leaders Jorge Fierro, Andrew Valdez, Ruby Chacon and Alma Armendariz
2005 » Pamela Atkinson, advocate for the poor
2004 » Utahns killed in Iraq and Afghanistan
2003 » Gov. Olene Walker
2002 » LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley
2001 » 2002 Winter Games organizer Mitt Romney
2000 » Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson
1999 » The letter that sparked the Olympic bribery scandal
1998 » Mary Ann Kingston, who suffered a brutal beating after escaping plural marriage
1997 » NBA MVP Karl Malone
Sim Gill is just doing his job.
But it is a very tough job, a very important job — one that has profound bearing on how people in power in Utah conduct themselves, one that demonstrates to all that justice will be served for all.
In West Valley City, a young, troubled woman is dead at the hands of police, and scores of alleged drug offenders will not be prosecuted. In the Utah Capitol, the office that stands up for and protects law-abiding citizens is tainted and in question.
And across the state, Utahns watch as investigations led by Sim Gill play out.
Terry Orme is The Tribune’s editor and publisher. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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