Sunday, July 12, 2009

Kiss And Tell

Posted By on July 12, 2009, 5:44 PM

After Matt Aune and Derek Jones were handcuffed and pinned to the ground by Salt Lake LDS Temple security Thursday for kissing on Temple grounds, the response from the local marriage rights and gay rights community was swift, and also an illustration of the power of online social networking. Former Salt Lake City Councilperson Deeda Seed got the word out on Facebook about the “Kiss-In” she was organizing and within 24 hours over 100 people had responded, and about 200 actually attended.

Attendees met at 9:00 AM on the sidewalk in front of Main Street Plaza at Main Street and South Temple to create a ‘photo booth’ to take pictures of people kissing there. The LDS Church can eject visitors from its grounds at its choice, but the sidewalk is public property. Seed emphasized to attendees that it was “not a protest, but a show of our support. It’s a civil rights issue. What if people of color were accosted; how would we react? It’s the same kind of thing. This is discrimination based on personal characteristics, and it’s unacceptable.” Straight couples commonly exchange public displays of affection on the grounds without incident.

After voluminous smooching amongst the crowd, Seed left, and a number of those assembled decided to stroll through the temple grounds in an act of civil disobedience. Security called Salt Lake Police. I’d just like to imagine how that call might have gone down: “Again? (Heavy sigh) Yeah sure, we’ll be over. Try to keep your handcuffs in your pants this time.” They did arrive on the scene pretty quickly. Police Sergeant Fred Ross maintained, “We are just here trying to keep the peace; protect you and protect the Church’s property right.” Police responding Thursday released the pair from handcuffs and issued citations. Ross denied that the police responded to calls from the LDS Church differently from any other establishment who might report a trespasser.

Kiss-In organizer Deeda Seed:

The kissing:

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Tom Martinez

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