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News Blog

Kiss And Tell

by Brian Staker
Posted // 2009-07-12 - 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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REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // July 13,2009 at 11:36

All true, but if the Mormon church weren't there, who would gay activists have to pick on? It's the easiest target in SLC. Guaranteed KRCL will have this crap on Radioactive as soon as possible, making it a huge issue. If the same thing had happened at a Catholic church, the result would have been the same as well. My problem is that every time the story is told, the story of the victims changes.

 

Posted // July 23,2009 at 18:45 - And their stories didn't change, haven't once.

 

Posted // July 23,2009 at 18:41 - First things first, they WEREN'T IN a church, it's an open plaza available to the public, and they were told PDAs were Never Allowed, though I've personally been there and seen numerous LDS and nonLDS "hetero" couples sharing more than a light kiss right in front of security! Secondly, gay activists don't "pick on" ANYONE, especially the LDS church. It's hard to pick on someone who has more power than you. Especially when the power difference is so considerable. Oh, and if the LDS church weren't here, a LOT of people, not just gays, would be treated quite a bit better.

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // July 13,2009 at 10:56

Here's the thing, as I see it. . . I don't think anyone would disagree that the church has the right to kick people off its own property. I think there IS an argument, however, against what this Seed person said. She said that the kissing people were thrown out due to their personal characteristics and that it was no different than throwing out a person of color. I disagree. You can't choose what color your skin will be. You can, however, choose how you will act in public. If you knowingly walk onto property where the standards are different than yours, you should be respectful and conform to those standards, even if it's just while you're there. It's like going to a fancy restaraunt where you have to wear a tie and jacket. You don't just walk into a place like that in your cut-off jeans and tank top. Similarly, if you're going into a mosque and you're not Muslim, you should still cover your head to be respectful of where you are. In this way, I don't think this article should make anyone angry that the church is intolerant. Instead, I view this couple as kind of foolish and disrespectful of church standards. They probably wouldn't walk into a mosque and do the same thing. I think it's absolutely asinine to try to make the church look bad in this instance. Nice try.

 

Posted // July 23,2009 at 18:55 - A person is BORN gay, it's not something you "catch" or "choose", so why is it right to discriminate against being gay and not being black? Discrimination is Discrimination, period. You're picking at details because you don't have a valid argument. Again, they weren't IN a CHURCH, so the whole "if they were in a Mosque" argument is invalid. The property does not contain any "Worship Facilities" of any kind, it is an open plaza with no gates, walls, or delineations for such. It is not considered "Holy" in any way.

 

 
 
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