Kiss-in in Salt Lake City

While we were away in Anaheim supporting full inclusion, Episcopalians and others in Salt Lake City were demonstrating against the treatment of gay couple for a kiss.

From the original story as reported in the Salt Lake Tribune:

The church contends the couple was “asked to stop engaging in inappropriate behavior just as any other couple would have been. They became argumentative and used profanity and refused to leave the property. They were arrested and then given a citation for criminal trespass by SLPD.”

Though Salt Lake City sold the property to the church in the late 1990s, it remains a popular pedestrian thoroughfare, and a site where couples often pose affectionately for photos.

Aune said the incident started when he and Jones were walking back to their Salt Lake City home from a Twilight Concert Series show at the Gallivan Center. The couple live just blocks away from the plaza in the Marmalade district of the Capitol Hill neighborhood.

The pair crossed the plaza holding hands, Aune said. About 20 feet from the edge of the plaza, Aune said he stopped, put his arm on Jones’ back and kissed him on the cheek.

Several security guards then arrived and asked the pair to leave, saying that public displays of affection are not allowed on the church property, Aune and Jones said. They protested, saying they often see other couples holding hands and kissing there, said Jones.

From the most recent protest held July 19:

Hans Totterer said he came to the LDS Church’s Main Street Plaza in Salt Lake City for Sunday’s 12:15 p.m. “kiss-in” without plans for smooching. After a heated exchange across signs held by counter-protesters from the anti-gay group America Forever, however, he found a surprise partner. As the two men locked lips, those in support of the protest cheered.

Counter-protesters holding placards chiding gays for “leading a persecution movement against American religions,” jeered. “Their signs insulted me,” said Totterer, an 18-year-old supply store employee and Salt Lake Community College student. “They upset me so much, I couldn’t think of anything else to do.”

Later on, at the south end of the Main

Street Plaza, more than 200 protesters left the public sidewalk and walked onto church property for three rounds of kissing between the plaza’s fountain pool and Salt Lake City LDS Temple.

Jeff Laver, who attends St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, SLC writes:

I was late for church on Sunday because I first I went to the Main Street Plaza to join a “kiss-in” in support of the gay couple who were told to leave the LDS property because of a kiss on the cheek (“Protesters smooch near LDS Temple,” Tribune , July 13).

As I walked into St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, where I’m a parishioner, they were singing “Amazing Grace”: “’tis grace that brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.” It brought tears to my eyes. You see, I’m gay and served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Later in the service, we sang “Praise the mount! Oh, fix me on it, mount of God’s unchanging love … and I hope, by thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home.”

I could hardly get the words out. It was as if those hymns had been chosen specifically for me on that particular day. After essentially being told that I was not welcome on Temple Square, I thank God for the Episcopal Church and loving straight people, religious or not, who help marginalized gays find “home.”

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