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Charges Dropped Against Salt Lake City Kissers

Timothy Kincaid

July 29th, 2009

Prosecutors will not pursue charges against Derek Jones and Matt Aune, the gay couple cited for trespassing in a public plaza after being confronted by Mormon Church security guards for giving a kiss on the cheek.

Apparently, the Mormon Church decided that it was not the Christian thing to do to try and use the legal system to punish this couple for a chaste kiss. Oh, wait. That isn’t why. The Mormon Church was all for civil punishment.

It turns out that the prosecutor found that the church had not adequately noted the terms under which people could cross the plaza nor adequately let the public know that this plaza was not really public property. That can happen when you blur the line between church and state. (Salt Lake Tribune)

In addition, Gill said, “there is a reasonable basis to believe the alleged trespassers did not think the LDS staff who confronted them could legally eject them from the property. Under this scenario, the alleged violators wanted law enforcement to be called because they believed they had a right to be there.

“There were no signs clearly indicating the ‘at will’ capacity to eject — for any reason — persons who entered this private property. Under this statute when the property is ‘open to the public’ Utah law provides that even if there is a violation of the statute, there is still the affirmative defense for the defendant that such conduct did not ‘substantially interfere’ with the owner’s use of the property.”

Wouldn’t it all have been better if the Church had simply told Jones and Aune, “We’re sorry we slammed you to the ground, put you in handcuffs, and had you arrested for a kiss on the cheek. Please try to remember that this is our private property and to respect our rules and we will try to remember that you are our neighbors made in God’s image and we must treat you with decency and respect”?

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Richard W. Fitch
July 29th, 2009 | LINK

Will the weekly Kiss-In be continued…until the LDS gestapo is posted 24/7/365 inside a barbed wire defense barrier?

Burr
July 29th, 2009 | LINK

Good. Now LDS will be forced to post their hate and ignorance for all to see if they want to continue to enforce this, or they will have to suck it up.

Or they could actually PROTECT their religious freedom by giving the street back to the people of Salt Lake City.

Jason D
July 29th, 2009 | LINK

Good. Sanity and freedom prevail.

If they don’t want gay kissin on their property, they should post that. It’s called “setting expectations”. You can’t complain when people fail to meet your expectations when you don’t post them.

Regan DuCasse
July 29th, 2009 | LINK

WHITE ONLY COLORED ONLY

GAY ONLY STRAIGHT ONLY

NO KISSING ZONE

Which sign would have clearly been adequate for a citizen to assume their rights were the same, or that prohibitions were as well?

That’s the thing about public accommodation and what one can expect of living in America….in 1952 anyway.

Regan DuCasse
July 29th, 2009 | LINK

Why are there so many rules only for gay people to follow under the banner of heaven?
And how is anyone to know WHICH banner of heaven is flying, when it’s only in the minds of whoever says they stand by it?

So, why DON’T they just post signs like in my example?
That WOULD simplify things, but it would also point out what they are REALLY about, wouldn’t it?

And we can’t be having THAT kind of honesty, can we?

Lindoro Almaviva
July 29th, 2009 | LINK

Guys, guys, guys!

(I can’t believe I’m going to say this) I think we are over reacting here. The prosecutor said that the only thing they need to know is to post the “at will” sign.

Now, once it is posted, we could go a test the fairness of it bu sending a straight and a gay couple in there. We could have the straight couple give each other a passionate kiss and the gay couple a peck on the cheek or lips. Voila! Then we will expose their hypocrisy.

I think that the prosecutors was clear in saying that this would have been the same outcome had a straight couple been harassed. I say let’s test that, once the LDS is within all the expectations of the law.

Doug
July 29th, 2009 | LINK

Why would the LDS church choose the “Christian thing to do,” anyway? From my perspective, they’re not “Christians.”

cowboy
July 29th, 2009 | LINK

After reading the St[sic] Lake Tribune article I believe the pejorative characterization Mr. Kincaid used: “we slammed you to the ground” might be slightly inflammatory. Or, at least, I would think mediamatters.org would call inflammatory. (wink)

I expect the security video will be made available to the public soon. Then we might see if the actions on that Thursday night were as innocent as they claim. But I trust what City Prosecutor Sim Gill has determined to be a fair resolution. He is a fair-minded kind of guy.

I walk this plaza quite frequently and it seems to be fairly obvious it is part of the LDS Church campus and property. Maybe it is because I am familiar with the history of this plaza but I can sense tourists know they are on LDS property when they walk the two block area with the Temple, the Tabernacle and the LDS HQ buildings all connected by this plaza.

So, what has been accomplished? Gays still will not be allowed to kiss on this property. And, any more disrespecting the private property of the LDS Church will only make them build walls…both physical and virtual ones. And the Kiss-In coming in August 15th is not directed at only Mormons…right? I hope we see kissing by gays/lesbians at Catholic Cathedrals and at orthodox Jewish Synagogues too and at some Southern Baptist Mega-Churches?

Regan DuCasse
July 30th, 2009 | LINK

All things considered…a kiss-in was a creative and utterly peaceful way to protest an essentially stupid and cruel law.

More!

David C.
July 30th, 2009 | LINK

I expect the security video will be made available to the public soon. Then we might see if the actions on that Thursday night were as innocent as they claim.—cowboy

Indeed, the security video has been posted. Not particularly clear, but one can get an idea of how things were handled by the security guards.

David C.
July 30th, 2009 | LINK

And the Kiss-In coming in August 15th is not directed at only Mormons…right? I hope we see kissing by gays/lesbians at Catholic Cathedrals and at orthodox Jewish Synagogues too and at some Southern Baptist Mega-Churches? —cowboy

Yes, I hope we see Kiss In’s in lots of places. I think that they are actually a perfect kind of protest, not only against religious-based bigotry, but that of society at large.

Let the smooching begin!

Jason D
July 30th, 2009 | LINK

David,
Unfortunately the tape is fairly blurry and the trees get in the way. But what is rather clear is that there are 4 security officers, 3 of them large men against the two considerably smaller gay men, and that they are clearly being handled quite roughly.

Richard W. Fitch
July 30th, 2009 | LINK

Two questions after viewing the tape: 1) was there no section prior to the actual confrontation that shows the couple engaged in ‘lewd and inappropriate activity’? 2) Is it not true that the tape clearly shows the men being handcuffed and harassed? It was my understanding that the LSD guards were not permitted to use cuffs without police present. ???

Thomas
August 3rd, 2009 | LINK

Wow Timothy what a whitty article seems someone has issue with bias. In this senerio it would not be “The Church” Hopefully if you are going to continue in your journalism career you would learn how to get all the details and report responsibly. Shame of the editor as well for not screening what content is on the site from its jorunalists. This is coming from a proud gay male who is also a member of the LDS faith. Work by Equality Utah has been wonderful in making leaps and bounds for mutual respect and unfortunately your article and the actions of a few are making this a fight not common ground, shameful!!

Timothy Kincaid
August 4th, 2009 | LINK

Thomas,

Kindly provide the details that you think were omitted from the commentary.

And, in the meanwhile, I’ll go on with my journalism accounting career.

Jim Burroway
August 4th, 2009 | LINK

Someone has trouble distinguishing between journalism and commentary. Of course this site has biases. We’re full of them. But at least we’ll admit it.

— The (biased) editor

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