When Public Streets Are Private Property

Note: Yeah, I know this is turning into a wordy weekend, but when I came across this via Pam's House Blend, I couldn't stay silent.

So it seems a gay couple was walking the Main Street Plaza in Salt Lake City, Utah, when one leaned over and gave his partner a quick kiss on the cheek. Sweet and harmless, right? Not if you do it on a public street - the main walking thoroughfare in downtown SLC - that's actually owned by the virulently anti-gay Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The LDS church's enforcers showed up posthaste, roughed them up, including putting one of them on the ground to cuff him, and cited them for trespassing. Because apparently, Main Street Plaza is kinda-sorta actually part of LDS church land in addition to being a public street. And if you dare to be publicly gay on LDS property, they're gonna call the God Squad on you! I guess two men sharing an brief moment of affection was so dangerous that it justified pseudo-arresting them. After all, who knows what they were going to do next? If not for the timely and totally-justified intervention of the LDS God Squad, good innocent Mormon children might have been exposed to the heinous sight of men holding hands! Or they might have heard one man call the other "sweetie"! Those children could have been scarred for life by the knowledge that gay people exist!

This is why progressives would like religions to keep themselves to themselves. No church has the right to impose its standards of behavior in public spaces, and this kind of thing is the outcome when the line between religion and public space blurs.


Kristen B said...

Ugh, that's appalling. Things like that make me feel grateful to live in San Francisco, where everyone is (mostly) encouraged to be themselves, whatever that may be, and not get judged for it. It's empowering. But, it can be easy to forget that SF is a bubble, and 99% of the country is not like that. Sigh.

Btw, looks like you're back in the Bay. We should attempt to meet up sometime. It's been forever and I would love to see you again!

WitchWords said...

Shit like this is one of the many reasons I'm glad to be home, for sure.

We should definitely hang out sometime. I'll poke you on Gmail or Twitter or something. :-)


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