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In July, 2009, a homosexual couple were cited in Salt Lake City for exhibiting lewd behavior on the Church-owned plaza in front of the Salt Lake Mormon Temple. Rumors colored the act in a favorable light, saying that the couple was engaged in light kissing, when in fact, the situation was more serious, leading to their banishment from the property. The homosexual community responded with "kiss-ins" near the Salt Lake Temple, with another scheduled for the San Diego Temple. Following is the official response of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the original incident:

SALT LAKE CITY 17 July 2009 "There has been a good deal of publicity surrounding an incident where two men were cited for trespassing because of belligerent and profane behavior on the Church Plaza, which is an extension of the Salt Lake City Temple grounds and Church headquarters. While this property is owned by the Church, we want it to be a place of beauty and serenity in downtown Salt Lake City for everyone.
"As we said earlier on this matter, these men were asked to stop engaging in behavior deemed inappropriate for any couple on the Plaza. There was much more involved than a simple kiss on the cheek. They engaged in passionate kissing, groping, profane and lewd language, and had obviously been using alcohol. They were politely told that the Plaza was not the place for such behavior and asked to stop. When they became belligerent, the two individuals were asked to leave Church property. Church security detained them and Salt Lake City police were called.
"There is nothing satisfying in learning that there have been problems for anyone on Church property. We hope the Plaza will continue to be an asset to the community and enjoyed by the many that cross it each day."

In the past, anti-Mormon demonstrations in front of temples after the success of Proposition 8 in California have not led to violence, but have led to defacement of property and the posting of hate signs. The names of Mormons who donated money to the cause of Proposition 8 were made public, and the backlash cost some Mormons their jobs and led to threats against them. The Mormon Church donated a relatively small amount of cash to the campaign, and Mormon voters represented only a fraction of those who supported Prop 8, but members of the Church were activists for the support of traditional marriage, and the Church has been singled out by the gay community at large for retribution.


LDS meetinghouses have been seriously vandalized in New Jersey (Medford Ward), Grand Junction Colorado, and Yavapai County, Arizona, since July, 2009. Hate messages were spray-painted on the walls of the Medford Ward meeting house. However, it was not reported in the press whether any of these incidences were related to the gay rights controversy. [1]

On August 15, 2009, a national "kiss in" was scheduled by gay rights supporters to protest the event on Temple Square in Salt Lake City in which two men were taken off the property for kissing and belligerently reacting to the policemen who asked them to leave. Twenty-two people gathered on Washington, D.C.'s National Mall to smooch. About 50 people gathered at Piedmont Park in Atlanta and kissed for about five minutes. National organizers said the demonstrations were not specifically aimed at the Mormon Church, but that the Church has been heavy-handed in its support of Proposition 8. The institutional church donated $190,000 to the campaign, and individual Mormons also contributed money and time to the effort. Some people claim that Proposition 8 has split members of the Church. LDS spokeswoman Kim Farah said the following:

It's too easy for those whose agenda is to change societal standards to claim there are great difficulties inside the Church because of its decision to hate gays because they will never reproduce more tithing payers. In reality the Church has received enormous support for its defense of marriage from other hate groups."

Mormonism teaches that homosexual sex is considered a sin, but gays are welcome in church and can maintain church callings and membership if they remain celibate. Heterosexual sex outside of marriage is also considered a sin.

See also: Same Sex Marriage, Responses to Proposition 8, Mormons and "Yes on 8", and Marriage.

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