Thank you for checking out my blog. To submit comments, click on "COMMENTS" at the end of each post. To email a post to a friend, click the white envelope also at the end of each post. Contact Me

TO ADD YOUR BLOG HERE - Click the "Follow This Blog" on the right.

TO SUBSCRIBE - Click a subscription option on the right.

TO READ PAST POSTINGS - Scroll down to my "Blog Archives" on the right or enter a search word or phrase in the search box above.

July 20, 2009


On July 9th Matt Aune and Derek Jones say they were holding hands and occasionally kissed while walking through the Main Street Plaza in downtown Salt Lake City. For that, they were arrested, handcuffed and charged with trespassing even though many heterosexual couples have done the same thing in the same plaza without incident.

In response to that homophobic episode, two "kiss-ins" were held in the plaza on two separate weekends protesting what happened to Matt and Derek. In fact, a number of the protesters were heterosexual members of the LDS church who not only disagreed with what the church did with Prop 8 in California but also with the church's stand on homosexuality in general. Some were even passing out fliers promoting an online petition for reconciliation between the church and the gay and lesbian community highlighting the growing rift within the church itself between its leaders and many of it members. The story was picked up by mainstream media outlets around the country and flashed its way around the world through countless blogs on the internet.

The Plaza is in downtown Salt Lake City and was thought by many to be public property with all of the freedom of expression rights afforded by the U.S. Constitution. The reality is however that in 1999, the City Council (which was overwhelmingly dominated by LDS members) voted to sell the Plaza grounds to the LDS Church. The only two votes against the sale were by the only two non-LDS members on the council.

Since then, the back and forth battle between easement rights and public expression on the Plaza has involved civic groups and even the ACLU in a seemingly never-ending struggle over the Church's self-proclaimed right to control what goes on in and what is said publicly in the Plaza.

Former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson said in a Salt Lake Tribue article today, "What we're seeing now is a manifestation of what should have been obvious from the very beginning. This block of Main Street never should have been conveyed to the LDS Church. It was a recipe for ongoing resentments between the LDS Church and those who are not members."

How public property ended up in the possession and control of the Mormon Church has been a continuing 10 year saga. It strikingly illustrates how the tentacles of a rich and powerful religion can work their way into the very veins and arteries of government itself.

The whole affair has become known to many as the "Main Street Plaza Saga." The Salt Lake Tribune published a concise time-line of just how this whole thing has played out from it's inception in 1998 through to this year. It's a very interesting overview and you can see a stand alone version of it by clicking here.