Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Charges Dropped Against Mormon Plaza Gay Kissers

The Salt Lake City prosecutor's office says it will not pursue charges against two men who were cited for trespassing on a Mormon church-owned downtown plaza earlier this month.

Prosecutor Sim Gill said in a statement that "when you have private property that is open to the public...there is some responsibilities of the property owner". Gill also said that Utah state law requires the property owner to let the public know what rules to follow. It will be interesting to see if the LDS Church puts signs up on the Plaza explaining exactly what type of affection can be displayed and by what sexes.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has disputed Aune's and Jones' version of the events, saying their behavior was lewd and more was involved than a "simple kiss of the cheek."


  1. The website reports that Aune was aware that the plaza was privately owned. Regarding the easement given up by the city to the church in 2003, "Aune said he was one of those that protested the transfer at the time."

    Aune's more public version, included in the police report, says that he believed the plaza was a public place.

  2. My original post referenced the notice issue, and I think it's a valid concern for prosecutors to take into account. However, it does seem to me that this decision is focused more on the public than the case at hand. At least one of the two men, Matt Aune, was expressly on notice that the Plaza was private property. He protested the land exchange in 2003.

  3. I find it very interesting that Aune himself actively protested the transfer of the Main Street property. When I originally read about the "kissing" situation I wondered if the two men had intentionally been trying to start an incident. Learning this about him makes me wonder even more.