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Mormons Persecute Gays

12 July, 2009

One of my best friends is gay.  He is a wonderful person:  creative, funny, old, good cook, and a very caring person.  However, about 4 in 10 Americans consider him to be, at least, a sinner damned to an eternity of punishment in hell or, at worst, a criminal.  Turns out that the Mormon Authorities in Salt Lake City agree wholeheartedly with the minority (quotes are from an AP article I found at The Raw Story).

A gay couple say they were detained by security guards on a plaza owned by the Mormon church and later cited by police, claiming it stemmed from a kiss on the cheek.  (Ah, obviously the Mormon security guards thought they were Frenchmen.)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said that the men became argumentative and refused to leave after being asked to stop their “inappropriate behavior.” The men say they were targeted because they are gay.  (A kiss on the cheek is “inappropriate behaviour”?  So what is having four wives or marrying a thirteen year old?  Oh.  Mormonism.  Sorry.)

Matt Aune said he and his partner, Derek Jones, were walking home from a concert nearby on Thursday night, cutting through the plaza near the Salt Lake City Mormon temple.  (Well, they were obviously trouble makers.  Enjoying that sinful music.  How dare they?)

Aune, 28, said he gave Jones, 25, a hug and kiss and that the two were then approached by a security guard, who asked them to leave, telling them they were being inappropriate and that public displays of affection aren’t allowed on the property. He said other guards arrived and the men were handcuffed.  (Public Displays of Affection aren’t allowed on Mormon property?  Does the groom get to kiss the bride?)

“We asked what we were doing wrong,” Aune told The Associated Press.  (Obviously, you thought you were living in a modern tolerant nation in which individual freedom is valued.  Obviously, you were wrong.)

Church spokeswoman Kim Farah said in a statement Friday that the men were “politely asked to stop engaging in inappropriate behavior — just as any other couple would have been.”  (I wonder how many heterosexual couples have been handcuffed by the security guards? (and is it just me, or does that sound like a bad porn movie?))

“They became argumentative and used profanity and refused to leave the property,” she said. The church did not immediately respond to a request for more comment.  (Using profanity?  In America?  Horrors!)

Police later arrived and both men were cited with misdemeanor trespassing, Salt Lake City Police Sgt. Robin Snyder said.  (Trespassing.  His lips were not allowed on hes partner’s face.)

“It doesn’t matter what they were asked to leave for,” Snyder said. “If they are asked to leave and don’t they are … trespassing.”  (That I do agree with.  However, were they targetted because of natural human behaviour?  How many hetero couples have been cited?)

The church has been the target of protests over its support of a ban on gay marriage in California.  (Good to know that they are consistent.  They not only oppose human rights for non-Mormons in California, but also non-Mormons in Utah.)

Now, if the security officers on this property have treated heterosexual couples the same way, if they have harrassed male/female couples, if they have requested that the police cite opposite-sex partners, then I will take back some of the snark I’ve added.   On private property, they owner of the property has certain rights.  Does that right include harassing individuals based upon their sexual orientation?

This is yet (probably) another example of a religious organization treating their internal rules as civil laws.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints treats all humans as if they are a part of the church, subject to the religious rules.   The United States of America is a secular democracy.  The laws are passed by elected officials, not by church heirarchies.  The laws are enforced by government law enforcement officers operating under the rule of law.  That plaza in Salt Lake City has not been magically transposed to Iran!

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12 comments

  1. […] Posted July 12, 2009 at 7:21 pm Mormons Persecute Gays « (((Billy))) The Atheist Matt Aune said he and his partner, Derek Jones, were walking home from a concert nearby on Thursday night, cutting through the plaza near the Salt Lake City Mormon temple. (Well, they were obviously trouble makers. … They not only oppose human rights for non-Mormons in California, but also non-Mormons in Utah.) Now, if the security officers on this property have treated heterosexual couples the same way, if they have harrassed male/female couples, if they have requested …  read more… […]


  2. […] the rest here: Mormons Persecute Gays « (((Billy))) The Atheist Categories : AREA Property Partners, Real Estate […]


  3. This whole church property mess has been nothing but a bad idea from the beginning. What happened was in 2003 the Mormon church wanted that property that was once public land. It’s a major cross area of town and should never have been made private property, especially by a church. It should have remained public. So Salt Lake City swapped the land for some west side church property to build a city rec center.

    They do not harass heterosexual couples at all. I bet one could even find pictures of straight mormon (way to young to be getting married) couples kissing in front of the Temple for their wedding pictures.


  4. First, I’d love to know if there are any records of straight couples going through this.

    Second, I don’t go on Raider property waving my Chiefs flag.


  5. Poodles: As soon as I read your comment, I was able to find information about the land swap. I hadn’t realized just how the LSD got ahold of that land.

    Philly: Well, of course you don’t. Those Raiders fans are all, every one of the them, psychotic and unwashed. But they are a step up from Cowboy fans.


  6. I actually live just a block from this infamous plaza. I walk down it several times a week and there are without fail straight couples holding hands, and often kissing. This is where many wedding photos are taken and the kisses aren’t always terribly chaste.

    Not only is it a blatant lie to say any other couple would be treated the same way (which everyone knows is bullshit), but the trespassing thing is ridiculous as well. Furthermore their actions (a side-hug and kiss on the cheek) aren’t in any way sexual. For all they know, the two men were European or simply not obsessed with extremely myopic American views of masculinity.

    The couple asked what the problem was, why they had to leave, not knowing the church had the authority to kick people off of the plaza. Because the two dirty faggots dared to ask a question, they were handcuffed, one forced to the ground, bruised, and then forced to wait until the police came. At no point did they refuse to leave. They simply asked for clarification of the situation and were detained for doing so and thereby forced to trespass because they then couldn’t leave even if they wanted to.

    And on top of it all, in 2003 when the deal was made official, the church PROMISED something like this would never happen, that the plaza would be open to the public (to which we gays do belong) as an important thoroughfare.

    Oh, and the church banned them from the downtown church “campus” for 6 months. Which means they have to walk all the way around the entire church compound.

    On private property, they owner of the property has certain rights. Does that right include harassing individuals based upon their sexual orientation?

    Unfortunately I think the answer is yes. I don’t think the church legally did anything wrong. Morally, definitely. In fact, I think the plaza, simply because it is now church property has been magically transposed to Iran.

    But I don’t think the church security should be able to handcuff anyone and rough them up at will. The security never explained that it was private property and that they were legally obligated to leave else it became trespassing. If they had been told that, my guess is the gay couple would have left – but the security guards were so incensed with the disgusting display of homo-eroticism (or so turned on) that they never gave the couple the chance to leave willingly.


  7. Incidents like this one really piss me off. This is a free country, and people need to tell these religious zealots where they can shove it!


    • I actually had a surprsing encounter at Walmart the other day. I was around the deli/Mcdonald’s area, and this man came up to me. He said he wanted to talk to me because he is disabled as well, a chemical imbalance in his brain. He tells me his family is a singing group, and hands me a card. Turns out his family is a singing church group. So, he asks me if I go to church and I tell him I’m a non-believer. And surprisingly when I say I just have my own point of view, he says he guess every body does. I was fully expecting a Fundie argument about saving my soul.


  8. Craig: Thanks for the details. It’s even more infuriating that I thought.

    Robert: Thanks for stopping by. One of America’s big problems is that zealotry (in religion or conservative politics) is presented as mains stream.


  9. Perhaps the best thing about Mitt Romney’s recent run for the presidency is that it brought the LDS into the spotlight. I think most Americans figured Mormons were somewhat odd and maybe even quaint (conservative and fundogelical Christians think they’re a cult – LOL – as if any religious body is not a cult, if you think about it!). Now, most Americans know that the Mormons are very odd and not particularly quaint.


  10. Chappie: Oddly, the more we learn about specific sects, the stranger they get.


  11. What a farce. I agree with Billy – zealotry has become an epidemic. Atheists, agnostics, and those who simply can’t make up their mind about religion in general aren’t going out persecuting zealots. It’s ALWAYS the other way around. This just shows how gays haven’t even truly reached a level of acceptance that prevents these sorts of activities. This BS reminds me of what was going on in the south back in the 1960s (without the murder part). Why is it that the religious right is the least intolerant subset of our society, and they force their makeshift and hypocritical mindset on the rest of us? Think about it. Religious people can wear it on their sleeves (look on Twitter to see a ton of Jesus freaks who do this), but the first sign of a question of it or an alternative lifestyle and people get thrown to the grown, beaten, burned, or whatever. Makes me sick.



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