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No charges in Main Street Plaza trespassing case

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  • Anonymous
    Aug. 5, 2009 1:04 p.m.


    Odd but expected. When homosexuals discriminate or commit crimes they so often go unprosecuted. (Was the gay caught with a missing, crying, child in his room in SLC ever prosecuted, or was it only those who beat him up? Either way, the media loved him. These two knew where they were, and the video proves they lied, and there is nothing indicating that the Security Guards are lairs. It's sad and alarming that when homosexuals discriminate against other minorities they are still defended by society (like knowingly trespassing on CA temple grounds, and vandalizing LDS Churches, or hating on Mormons, or saying blacks don't deserve "...Brown vs Board..." because they overwhelmingly voted for prop 08.) Yet, teh Mormon minority in SLC are constantly discriminated against for their religious beliefs, especially in Utah, and throughout the world. Our meetings are disrupted,sacred spaces are violated, and our rights to free speech are censored by teh ACLU (even on the “Mormon Trail” in the middle of nowhere!) Yet there is no one but Jesus to defend us, and a few sensible persons not of our faith. Guess that all we need.

  • Anonymous
    Aug. 5, 2009 12:29 a.m.

    If four Security Officers testified that somone shoplifted in their mall, or flashed someone, or groped each other and were asked to leave and were abusive, there would be prosecution, even if it weren't caught on tape.... unless, of course, the guards happened to be LDS employees, and it was next to the LDS temple, with a whole bunch of evidence proving that the perpetrators were lying on several other points, then, of course, everyone would fight for gay rights, to do what they want everywhere, especially on Mormon's property.

  • huh?
    Aug. 3, 2009 11:17 a.m.

    re: Reese
    Why is that the right thing?
    Please stop using language like "they first took the property" since no-one "took" anything; the LDS Church paid more than full property value for the property. Perhaps since the City sold Ramona Avenue to a Catholic charity, Hope Street to Walmart, Simpson to Sugar House Center, and Hillside to Christ Reedeemer Lutheran Church, etc. - the City should just take them back too. Unless of course - it is "who" not "what" was done on Main Street that really bothers you (and based on my discussions - that is usually the case with most Plaza critics).
    Please drop the religous intolerance and check your facts.

  • Live and let live
    Aug. 3, 2009 12:53 a.m.

    So sad. I am a "mormon" so I am biased. That being said I am upset at the reactions of people on both sides of the issue. Homosexuals are people who deserve as much respect as anyone else, but so are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Some of the comments on both sides have slighted the basic human element on both sides of the equation, which never promotes fertile ground for discussion. That being said, what is at issue here? The 1st amendment does not protect free speech on private property. The equal protection clause of the 14th amendment applies only to state and local government action. It applies to the federal government only through the due process clause of the 5th amendment. Some people forget the Constitution, including its amendments, were written to protect us from state actors, not private actors. The moment the government takes away the rights of property owners, we all lose. I will fight for the rights of all people, no matter their sexual or religious orientation . . . that protects my and your rights. Here I don't see how any rights were violated, the only state actors are police.

  • Reese
    Aug. 2, 2009 10:24 a.m.

    The LDS Church should do the right thing and return the plaza to the city, it should rightfully belong to the citizens of Utah and not to a religious few. The Church knew they were doing an injustice when they first took the property from the city. Give it back. Let the SLC police police it.

  • JAYEG
    Aug. 1, 2009 10:54 a.m.

    Re: Ummm

    Members of both the gay community, and the heterosexual community have made an issue of this incident and rightly so.

    There is no law against kissing one's significant other. If a religious organization wants to enforce rules regarding public displays of affection...they must either enforce them equally for homosexuals and heterosexuals...or not at all.

    Just about every day you will see LDS newlyweds posing for pictures, engaged in embracing, and kissing.

    And I have no doubt that members are not harassed by Church Security if a husband happens to put his arm around his wife, and give her a kiss as they approach the Tabernacle to attend General Conference.

  • JAYEG
    Aug. 1, 2009 10:42 a.m.

    Re: Narutu

    The Church security officers ALLEGED that the couple were engaging in lewd behavior by groping one another, and the arresting SLCPD officers have ALLEGED that the couple appeared to be intoxicated, and that they acted belligerently.

    The video tape shows a couple sitting quietly, and being approached by 4 large men wearing suits. The couple continued to sit quietly as they listened and spoke to the 4 men, until the suited guards physically laid hold of them, put them on the ground and cuffed them.

    The couple admits to using profanity, after being physically assaulted and cuffed...as any American probably would do when unjustly harassed.

    Unless the PD tested the couple for intoxication...it remains nothing more than ALLEGATION.

    And the problem with ALLEGING intoxication is that there ARE physical maladies which can mimic intoxication.

    Since the P.A. has dropped the trespassing charges, and advised the LDS Church that they don't have a case, and instructed them to clearly post signs stating private property, and code of conduct on their property...I would have to go along with what this couple has said.

  • It seems to me..
    Aug. 1, 2009 10:14 a.m.

    that (according to the boys initial statement) they were only walking through the plaza to take a shorter route home... so if that is what brought them to the plaza, why did they stop, sit and start fondling each other? Their story was flawed right from the beginning.

    This is just another example of gays trying to stir up trouble.. too bad it backfired on them. It's also an example of why more and more people will begin to fight against their causes. They don't actually believe in equal rights -- only gay rights.

  • JAYEG
    Aug. 1, 2009 9:53 a.m.

    Re:OUTRAGEOUS

    You clearly do not understand the law. Just as the owner of a shopping center must post the rules of conduct which they intend to enforce upon their property...so must the LDS Church post the rules of conduct which they intend to enforce upon Church owned property.

    If a store has not clearly posted 'no skateboarding' signs...store employees cannot harass or physically detain anyone who rides a skateboard on the sidewalk.

    The Church is required to post signs indicating rules of conduct they intend to enforce, and signs indicating that the Plaza is owned by the LDS Church, or else they have no legal recourse in asking anyone to leave the property...unless the individual(s) are engaged in criminal activities which harm others, or harm or damage the property.

    A man kissing his significant other harms nobody, nor does it harm or damage the property.

  • JAYEG
    Aug. 1, 2009 9:43 a.m.

    Re: Wondering

    Church security officers ALLEGE that the couple were doing more than hugging and kissing. And the LDS Church is backing those ALLEGATIONS.

    Without proof of these ALLEGATIONS...it boils down to a case of the word of 4 Church employees, and the Church Administration against two homosexual non Mormons.

    Without proof...it is still nothing more than ALLEGATIONS.

    The Church CLAIMS that their security cameras didn't record the 'kiss'. No doubt. A kiss takes only a moment...while an entire groping session takes longer, and security cameras would have likely panned in and 'captured the moment in time.'

    At any rate, since signs were not posted regarding the fact that the Plaza was private property, or containing the rules of conduct which the owner intended to enforce, it still boils down to hearsay and allegations against this couple, who had done nothing wrong.

    Last I checked, it is legal to hug and kiss your significant other on American Soil. We do not accept Sharia law in America.

  • @Anonymous
    July 31, 2009 5:53 p.m.

    Anonymous, Are you peering over our shoulders from the State of California again? You certainly do spend alot of time on the Utah issues. I feel that you really want to live in Utah and take an active part. You may be able to help the gay community get more attention than they are already getting. Since your accident at McDonalds in the motorized chair, I was afraid that we had lost you and your wisdom.

  • Enough time?
    July 31, 2009 5:39 p.m.

    Haven't we all spent enough time on these two wing nuts? Look at their pictures. They both look like they or sitting on pins and needles or preparation H as the case may be.

  • vim
    July 31, 2009 6:50 a.m.

    A crime had been committed as per Wood 1271's comment and the Church was right to refer the matter to the police. The prosecuter was right in not persuing the matter, making "matyrs" out of 2 people disrespecting a church property.

  • huh?
    July 30, 2009 5:30 p.m.

    re: Anonymous | 4:48 p.m.
    Perhaps you could give us examples where John is incorrect - otherwise we should just discount your accusations as bullying (which should cease and desist).

  • @Dallas
    July 30, 2009 5:03 p.m.

    Only the police can forcibly remove someone. The actions of the security guards are borderline assault.

    And again, you stated they have no claim in lying, my argument was to show they sure as heck have a reason for not telling the truth of what happened and why they were ejected.

    I never ONCE said they were wrong in it. Just said I don't think people should blindly believe everything the Church says.

  • Anonymous
    July 30, 2009 4:48 p.m.

    John,

    Once again, you don't know what you are talking about, but you do so with such confidence.

    Please cease and desist.

  • John Pack Lambert
    July 30, 2009 4:40 p.m.

    To the defender of the ACLU,
    The ACLU sues to argue that parents have no rights to have a say in what materials their children are exposed to in kindergarten. They are not defending my rights.
    In fact, the ACLU has so abandoned its historic mission that people have written works denouncing it for becoming one sided and tolerating suppression of civil liberties. This is a complexed question, and I can not explain it all here, but the ACLU is proactivly seeking to limit religous expression in many places.

  • John Pack Lambert
    July 30, 2009 4:28 p.m.

    To the 4:05 commentator,
    The city did not "simply give up the easement" although the fact that the rules for the easement that the buyer had negotiated might have made that reasonable.
    The city sold the easement for 10 times its worth. That is what the 8th Circuit said when it ruled that the sale of the easement was a real sale that really vacated all government interest in the plaza.
    Stop the lieing. The city sold the easement for 10 times its assessed value.

  • John Pack Lambert
    July 30, 2009 4:24 p.m.

    Roger S.,
    I think you missed the end of the article. One of the men admits he protested the 1999 sale. I remember there was a commentator on the KSL site who kept on saying the men knew because they were in the protests, turns out he was right.
    While I guess under the old easement rules this might have been acceptable, how did they miss the second deal in which the city sold the easement?
    Then there is the fact that there are signs that say the property is owned by the LDS Church.
    The whole thing never ceases to amaze me. The claim that the situation is ambiguous is just bizarre.

  • Anonymous
    July 30, 2009 4:21 p.m.

    The video is posted on the SL Tribune site, but the couple's behavior prior to security approaching them isn't on the video. So many ugly comments.

  • John Pack Lambert
    July 30, 2009 4:16 p.m.

    To the 12:19 commentator,
    If you were right there might be irony. However the story is not as you tell it.
    The 8th Circuit ruled that if there was an easement that the city could not more heavily restrict there than in any other open public forum location. In response to this the Church gave the city things valued at over $5 million for the easement that was valued at $500,000. Then the same people who had run the first suit tried to run another claiming this was establishment of religion and the plaza was still a public forum.
    The 8th ciruit ruled that all public interest in the property had been vacated and the plaza had become private property.
    If people still think Salt Lake City still has any interest in the plaza, than it is the city that has been lax not the current property owner. There are signs saying the property belongs to the LDS Church. What, the city taking $5 million worth of land and various other forms of aid can be other than a sale. This is an outrage.

  • John Pack Lambert
    July 30, 2009 4:11 p.m.

    So now they admit to having protested against the sail.
    Where were they when the sale of the easment occured? Where were they were multiple courts upheld the fact that the land is private property? Also, the signs clearly state that the property is owned and operated by the LDS Church.
    This is not a special place, it is normal LDS Church property as is every other point on Temple square.

  • Annie
    July 30, 2009 3:49 p.m.

    I watched the Salt lake Crowler video. Looks like the men were asked to leave plenty of times before they were cuffed and police were called. So far the guards story stands up. Thanks RichE.

  • intersting
    July 30, 2009 3:47 p.m.

    re: abominous
    "As to your claim that "The ACLU was lead by an openly gay ex-Mormon," perhaps you're referring to Stephen Clark, who was the ACLU-Utah legal director at the time. That hardly makes him the leader of the ACLU, which is controlled by a board of directors. And you make "openly gay ex-Mormon" sound like Clark is some kind of monster. He's an accomplished attorney with the courage of his convictions. Show some basic respect."

    I did not say he was a "monster", those are your words. However; It is naive to assume he has no axe to grind in this case and I found it offensive that the media (particularly the Tribune) would publish all sorts of conpsiracy theories but never once questioned the elephant in the living room: Clark's personal vandetta. When you continue to flout irrational/hypocritcal conspiracy theories - don't condiscend to tell me to "show some repsct". Instead: Go look in the mirror.

    BTW: Occasionally I agree with the ACLU - but they still do not represent me. More often they simply embarrass and offend me with their rigid, myopic, counterlogical and intolerant view of the world.

  • Dallas
    July 30, 2009 3:43 p.m.

    @Dallas | 3:17 p.m. July 30, 2009

    What I find hilarious in your statement is that you ignore the fact that these individuals stories have changed more than once yet you focus on the church choosing their words wisely? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Look... here are the facts...

    Private Property
    Inappropriate acts on Private Property
    Asked to Leave
    Resisted
    Arrested FOR RESISTING BEING REMOVED FROM PRIVATE PROPERTY!!! (Do you not understand this part of it?)

    What the gay individuals have done is change their story more than once to sound more innocent then what was witnessed and actually happened.

  • Dallas
    July 30, 2009 3:36 p.m.

    I find it interesting to read those that clearly are on the side of the gay couple. Some want to blast the church for their values, while others seem to justify every little thing just enough to throw the church under the bus.

    The gay community has NEVER shown any respect and has openly mocked the LDS values (Saturdays Voyeurs) publicly in every way possible. And the LDS Church isn't the only religion that has been mocked by Gay communities either.

    What I do find to be very ironic is that the gay community needs the religious folks to help them get what they want, marriage. They didn't get it, and so any thing with any type of moral value has been under attack by the gay community. I believe that what they did on the church plaza was intentional and they knew dang well where they were and what they were doing. Karma bit them back and again... as with all gay individuals that have no moral values, they act like spoiled brats that aren't getting their way. Respect has to be earned... and the gay community has flat out not EARNED it at all.

  • interesting
    July 30, 2009 3:34 p.m.

    re: Abominous | 2:30 p.m.

    "The "public" easement was only open to people who comported themselves by LDS standards." You make it sound ominous, and I guess if you assume no-sunbathing on the plaza is exclusively "LDS standards", then it has merit. But I think it is classic spin because there was formerly a public right to access and apres ACLU there is not. Now it is totally at the discretion of the LDS Church - your argument is counter logical to the result.

    "the bottom line is that church and city attorneys secretly conspired from the very beginning to ignore the planning commission's recommendations and exclude non-LDS behavior and viewpoints from Main Street." That is a complete lie (but great conspiracy theory). The Planning Commission is by definition a recommending body - not the approval body. The approval body/the City Council (not the Mayor or the Planning Commission) makes the final decision and they made the decision in a public meeting. The Council alters Planning Commission reccomendations on a routine basis. All legal contracts are negotiated privately. Are they all conspiracies too?

    In the end the ACLU's actions resulted in the elimination of the easement.

  • @Dallas
    July 30, 2009 3:17 p.m.

    "The church has nothing to gain from this story thus I tend to believe their side of the story more. "

    They have nothing to gain (the Church doesn't care how the rest of the world, or other religions view it) but everything to lose (more vocality against them)

    Of course the Church is going to word their reaction very specifically to make sure it doesn't look like they were in the wrong. And then when people did not buy it they were more "specific" to what was happening.

    Sorry, don't buy it.

  • RichE
    July 30, 2009 2:34 p.m.

    One videotape has been released and is available on YouTube - you can access it by the Salt Lake Crawler by Glen Warchol.

    This video shows the two gays standing together quietly while being questioned by LDS Church security, then the LDS Security officers begin taking them down agressively. The video does NOT show any groping or otherwise inappropriate behavior (in my opinion) in the videotape currently released.

  • Abominous
    July 30, 2009 2:30 p.m.

    @ interesting | 9:19

    The "public" easement was only open to people who comported themselves by LDS standards. That was correctly ruled to be unconstitutional. The city vacated the easement to comply with the constitution, but the bottom line is that church and city attorneys secretly conspired from the very beginning to ignore the planning commission's recommendations and exclude non-LDS behavior and viewpoints from Main Street. It was a classic bait-and-switch.

    As to your claim that "The ACLU was lead by an openly gay ex-Mormon," perhaps you're referring to Stephen Clark, who was the ACLU-Utah legal director at the time. That hardly makes him the leader of the ACLU, which is controlled by a board of directors. And you make "openly gay ex-Mormon" sound like Clark is some kind of monster. He's an accomplished attorney with the courage of his convictions. Show some basic respect.

    Finally, the ACLU does not "shop" for "victims." They defend your basic rights and mine in cases that have merit and wide-ranging applicability. Even the LDS Church has benefited from ACLU representation in defense of its own 1st Amendment rights.

  • Anonymous
    July 30, 2009 1:07 p.m.

    Were are the video tapes?

  • Video released
    July 30, 2009 1:01 p.m.

    The two gay guys don't look drunk. Looks like it took at least 4 LDS security to take them down.

    No wonder the SLC proesecutor dismissed this.

    More bad PR for the church. What the heck has happened to them?

  • Not Enough Evidence to Convict
    July 30, 2009 12:57 p.m.

    Welcome to our judicial system. That doesn't mean these two guys didn't break a law, just that there was insufficient evidence to convict them of so doing. By the time the cops get there the couple can claim they didn't know this or that or didn't intend this or that and with just the testimony of the security guards there isn't much to work with in court.

    What will result is a change to the posted signs reflecting restricted behavior so that should similar behavior occur in the future there will be a stronger case for prosecution. The upside is that the existent ambiguity will be removed and the battle lines more clearly defined.

  • Dallas
    July 30, 2009 12:54 p.m.

    The church afraid of the backlash... HAHA... that is hilarious. Lets see how much more a couple of girls can spin a store more and more until it sounds like they were doing absolutely nothing. These fools have changed their story 3 times already, first it was just a kiss, then they were embracing each other and kissed, then it was just holding hands and kissing. Old Matt and Derek should either stick with one story and run with it.

    The church has nothing to gain from this story thus I tend to believe their side of the story more.

  • CB
    July 30, 2009 12:31 p.m.

    The Plaza has been dedicated to the Lord. It is, as if, one were entering a chapel. Whatever religion you are, you should respect another's holy places. Most Cathedral's I have entered have signs requesting, in some case, proper attire and behavior. Why is it so difficult for people to understand the behavior required at the Plaza? Before the church was able to enforce their rules, we had people with bullhorns shouting obscenities. You think you would really like to have your children see people 'making out' and grouping each other, so they can exhibit their displeasure with the Church's teachings?
    Ignorance of the law is no excuse and these exhibitionists, knew they were pushing the limit with their behavior. Sill is being 'political correct'.

  • LYING?
    July 30, 2009 12:21 p.m.

    Somehow I think the gays were lying their way through this case. Humm ..... Just churning my brain here ...

  • @Big C
    July 30, 2009 12:08 p.m.

    If they were intoxicated to the point that many of you people claim, they would have been cited for public drunkeness and disturbing the peace.

    Obviously they weren't because police have this thing that if you are caught doing something wrong, they will nail you with ANYTHING they can.

    Take speeding. They won't just pull you over immediatly. They will follow you a bit and see what other moving violations they can get you for.

  • @Matthew
    July 30, 2009 12:01 p.m.

    I just love how everyone assumes that the Church's statement must be completely accurate. That they must not ever stretch the truth of what happened.

    I am not saying they did this, but you are blindly following without question what the Church said. It doesn't matter what the couple said, it does not matter what the police report says. What the Church says is what "actually" happened.

    Learn to think beyond the box the Church sets up and realize that it is run by men. There was no divine intervention or "God's Mouthpiece" involved in the statements the Church has issued.

  • here's a thought
    July 30, 2009 11:12 a.m.

    The two offenders and the church security guys can go to washington have a drink (of their choice ) with Obama and get it resolved. I thought this totally covered the topic, was not abusive or misrepresentive but for some reason you chose not to add this last night

  • Different Beliefs
    July 30, 2009 11:01 a.m.

    I am a member of the LDS church. I am 24 years old. I served a mission is Spain. While I was there I was the minority, and I felt hatred from every possible sect, but I didn't care. No matter what a person believes, we're still all in "this" together. Why is it that we push ourselves apart based on our differences? I think there are some major misconceptions being played out here. First of all, not every LDS person you meet is going to perfectly represent the LDS beliefs. On the other hand, I think it's safe to agree that EVERY group (African Americans, Homosexuals, Hindus) wouldn't presume to represent the beliefs and feelings of all the members of their group. We say we're all different, do we believe that? Why do we always think the members of the group are exactly the same. I don't want to be defined by the group I belong to, but who I am. I believe that every person deserves that service.

  • re 1Observer
    July 30, 2009 10:54 a.m.

    If they were making out on my front lawn? Well, it depends--if they were Hotties, I'd invite them in. If they were Notties, I'd send them to the Main Street Plaza. LOL

  • Joseph
    July 30, 2009 10:50 a.m.

    Interesting to a degree.
    If a gay person enters the plaza and conducts themselves respectably they would be welcome but this couple had an agenda and wanted to protest.
    Democracy is inconvieneant to some.

  • 1Observer
    July 30, 2009 10:33 a.m.

    This whole thing smacks of 2 gay people trying to make a statement. What would the gay community think if a group of heterosexuals started showing up on their front lawns and making out? They would be outraged, accusing the hetros of intolerance and targeting them for their lifestyle. Aren't the gays just as intolerant as they accuse the LDS Church of being when they bad mouth it for its tenets and beliefs? As for Sim Gill being controlled by the Church-hardly. It is more likely Sim wants to run for County Attorney again and doesn't want the gay vote mad at him. And for those of you who can't get over the fact that the Plaza is private, too bad. The LDS Church over-paid for the property and the residents of the city have enjoyed the economic benefit of the mnoey they paid. And how about the Billion plus investment the LDS Church is making in downtown. If it weren't for the LDS Church downtown would have been a ghost town a long time ago.

  • Dutch
    July 30, 2009 10:32 a.m.

    Two simple signs on each end of the plaza - Please be aware your are entering private property. Please adhere to Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Standards and rules.

    I am sure legally they would have to include more, but make it simple and polite. If these to persons sue the church then the only settlement the church should offer is to place signs on the property - No money

    Oh by the way -

    There is nothing in Church Standards which prohibits a hetrosexual couple from showing proper public affection on thier wedding day taking pictures.

  • Big C
    July 30, 2009 9:57 a.m.

    Why do you think it's private property, yet open to the public? The church WANTS people to come to the plaza. It's supposed to be a place where all people can enjoy themselves spiritually. In creating an atmosphere like that though, it needs to be protected. Let's look at the facts:

    You're intoxicated.
    You're showing public displays of affection.
    You don't have a desire to leave when asked.
    You're doing all of the above, on private property of the LDS church, with your same sex partner.

    Taking those things in to account, do you really all expect us to believe you came without some sort of even a small agenda? Do you really think in trying to preserve the spiritual nature of the place for others, someone is NOT going to ask you to leave? Do you really think that if you refuse to leave, that security will just say OK that's fine you can stay? Really, saying they were going to press charges was the only way to keep the place peaceful and have them leave, regardless of their sexual preference. Is that really so hard to understand?

  • Stupid Drunk People
    July 30, 2009 9:30 a.m.

    They probably aren't exactly sure what happened cause they had been drinking. Did they get a blood alcohol level when they were arrested?

  • interesting
    July 30, 2009 9:19 a.m.

    re: Abomionus | 4:05 p.m.

    Nice spin
    Yes the original public easement had restrictions - but it was still a public easement maintaining a right to cross - now, apres lawsuit, their is none.

    The ACLU was lead by an openly gay ex-Mormon who went shopping for victims to sponser the lawsuit.

    The ACLU may have won a battle but lost the war and there is no easement of any kind now on the Main Street Plaza and it is entirely private property (thanks largely to the zeal of a gay ex-Mormon.)

  • Anonymous
    July 30, 2009 8:44 a.m.

    The right decison. If you are to ban kissing on the plaza, ban it for all. But a mere kiss or mild PDA, big whoop.

  • Susan
    July 30, 2009 7:50 a.m.

    The church only wanted then to leave. Not to go to jail, but just leave. That is why they are not pushing for prosecution. I have been a member for 33 years and they would ask me to leave if my husband and I wouldn't stop with the public displays. Police were needed only because they would not leave when asked.

  • inapropriate
    July 30, 2009 6:35 a.m.

    The LDS church makes no secret about it's stand on homosexuality (or in this case alchol consumption).
    It's wrong and no amount of press coverage or kiss-in protest will change that.

  • Re: Wondering
    July 30, 2009 5:28 a.m.

    They were doing more than hugging and kissing. The church "Probably" does not have any videos of the incident. They were groping each other which is wrong. I didn't do that in my wedding pictures at the temple. That should be done in private no matter what sexual orientation you are.

  • Wondering
    July 30, 2009 12:42 a.m.

    The church has said no public displays of affection by anyone (gay or straight) are allowed on their property.

    Wondering how many times church security has asked couples to stop kissing by the fountain with the temple in the background on their wedding day as they pose for wedding pictures? How many cases of trespassing for these newlyweds? No "lack of evidence" there. Subpoena all wedding albums! :)

  • Re; Matthew
    July 30, 2009 12:32 a.m.

    You are correct! Thank you!

  • Church decides
    July 30, 2009 12:28 a.m.

    For those of you who want to string up Sim Gill -- don't you get it? The church quietly told him not to prosecute because such a minor incident is not worth all the bad publicity for the church.

    The church wants to be able to support a Mormon presidential candidate in a few years, and this publicity only hurts their cause.

  • Anonymous
    July 29, 2009 11:58 p.m.

    "Oh, I'm sorry, officer. I didn't know that a red light meant I had to stop."

    "Oh, I'm sorry, officer. I didn't realize I had to pay for this before I left the store."

    Change the situation and see if the arguments still work.

  • Matthew
    July 29, 2009 11:57 p.m.

    I think it needs to be pointed out here that Church Security would have asked a heterosexual couple that was groping and being lewd to leave just like they did this homosexual couple. It isn't a Gay/Straight issue at all. It is an issue of propriety, something that a lot of people have trouble comprehending these days.

    It is amazing to me that I have to point any of this out.

  • mark
    July 29, 2009 11:43 p.m.

    wood1271 | 2:18 p.m. July 29, 2009: "I have been a cop for over 20 years, 10 of spent as a criminal investigator and this is the weakest excuse not to prosecute I have ever seen."

    Just goes to show that a cop can be as clueless as anyone else.

  • DM
    July 29, 2009 10:14 p.m.

    Trespassing alone is not a criminal offense. You could receive a citation for it as these two men did but it by itself warrents no involvement of a prosecution.

    Since the cops were involved and (as far as what has been told to the public) stories didn't match up there was a possibility that some sort of criminal action was taken by these two. It is that aspect that a prosecutor would look at and, finding nothing criminal, would drop the case. This is not to say that the two men were in the right.

  • Just one word to discribe....
    July 29, 2009 7:51 p.m.

    GROSS!!

  • It goes both ways...
    July 29, 2009 7:27 p.m.

    It all biols down to respect.
    Just like any good neighbor.
    My property - Your property.
    Why put up a fence if we can RESPECT each other.
    Mi casa es tu casa.

    However, if you start doing something I disapprove of -
    1) I have every right to ask you to leave.
    2) I you continue to disrepect me, my family, my property, I have every right to build a wall and limit only those I choose to invite.

  • Amazed
    July 29, 2009 7:22 p.m.

    I am amazed these two individuals are so brazen....whatever happened to honest shame for bad behavior???

  • Anonymous
    July 29, 2009 7:04 p.m.

    Unbelievable and disappointing: Sam Gill pretending to believe that these guys believed it was not private property.

  • Anonymous
    July 29, 2009 6:42 p.m.

    Use emanate domain and end this insult on SLC's non-Mormon members.

  • Oh well...
    July 29, 2009 6:41 p.m.

    it is over, let's move on with our lives people...

  • Yeah right "they didn't know"
    July 29, 2009 6:38 p.m.

    Sam Gill's statement that they didn't know is disingenuous if not a politically motivated lie. Signs posted at each end of the plaza clearly indicate that the Plaza is private property. The two men were coming from Gallivan Plaza and would have encountered the signs at the south end. It looks like another corrupt public official.

  • Anonymous
    July 29, 2009 6:34 p.m.

    "The world is welcome here..." Sorry, I will pass.

  • Tom Sparks
    July 29, 2009 6:24 p.m.

    Sim Gill is a guttless coward. Is there a "private property-no trespassing" sign at his home? And the bit about the two gay guys not pressing charges? When the guilty jerks can even think of suing when they are the ones in the wrong, society needs to change. It is time we stood up and quit being mealy mouthed about our rights and convictions.

  • jackie
    July 29, 2009 6:10 p.m.

    Unless you were there and personally witnessed the occurance you can't know what the truth is. Posters are talking about surveilance tapes but you assume there are some or if there is, that it caught the event. No name calling is necessary. It was a stupid thing. Personally I think it was more than what the young men said and I also think that it is possible that the guards over reacted. I don't think that the young men were ignorant of what they were doing, they knew all right, cause they live there and they knew that the gay LDS issue is big news and the security may also have been over sensitive to this issue. We don't know but I sure am sick of hearing about this "incident" and with the poorly attended kiss ins and of the bickering. I wish EVERYONE would get over themselves and act like grownups. This issue has been beaten to death. Lets stop acting like hooligans and behave. You don't have to agree with everyone to get along. I love a good barbque but that doesn't mean I hate vegans. Everyone needs to do better.

  • Anonymous
    July 29, 2009 6:04 p.m.

    The church has every right to protect their property. You will get no argument from me on this point!


    They have every right to communicate to the rest of the world their misguided, inconsistent, intolerant positions.

    Personally, I am glad this happened. Everyone should know what we know about living in Utah under the shadow of the church.

    Everyone should realize what "love your neighbor' looks like to this sect.

  • ed whalen
    July 29, 2009 5:53 p.m.

    Mormon property, in this case, is different because it should still be our property. 'Our' including this decidedly non mormon.

  • @4:14
    July 29, 2009 5:06 p.m.

    "Throw these idiots in jail for tresspassing and for being drunk"

    There is a BIG difference between being drunk, and having had drinks containing alcohol. If they were drunk they could have been cited for it, but they weren't.

    "ignorant fools who have no regard for public decency"

    I'm sorry but holding hands, hugging, and kissing are not violations of public decency.

  • What's Next?
    July 29, 2009 5:00 p.m.

    So does every piece of private property need to be identified by walls?

    Why does the gay community and its cheerleaders support through kiss-ins and such a couple of trouble-makers such as these two who give the whole group a bad name? Do gays really want to be accepted as a part of society or to be flamboyant outsiders?

    As a non-gay, I'd rather get along than have to build a wall between us, but this requires respecting each other's written property and unwritten human-relations rights.

  • Why is Mormon property different
    July 29, 2009 4:14 p.m.

    Next time my wife needs an abortion maybe I'll go to the Vatican and perform the proceedure in front of St. Peter's Basilica. I doubt they will have a problem with that. OR, next time I roast a pig maybe I'll go barbeque it in a synagogue or...

    Throw these idiots in jail for tresspassing and for being drunk, ignorant fools who have no regard for public decency, private property or not the least of which, CLASS.

    Gay people like these two set back the gay agenda everytime the spew their own form of hatred and intolerance, let alone lawlessness.

    I'm laughing right now...

  • Dutchman
    July 29, 2009 4:12 p.m.

    The LDS Church paid millions of dollars for the plaza property and again paid millions of dollars for the public easement to insure private property rights. The City was more than happy to take the money. A lot of it went to improve Liberty Park where anyone can go and enjoy themselves including displays of affection. It sounds as though the Church has been dooped by the City and should demand its money back. The Church should appeal the prosecutor's decision in the interest of all property owner's who are concerned about maintaining rights to private property.

  • Abomionus
    July 29, 2009 4:05 p.m.

    @interesting | 12:19 p.m

    Your analysis of the easement lawsuit is 100% wrong. The original so-called "public" easement gave the LDS church complete control over all speech and behavior on the plaza. The church was allowed to preach, recruit, broadcast, distribute literature, erect signs, assemble, etc., while the general public was expressly prohibited from doing the same things. The 10th circuit court correctly ruled this to be a violation of the public's 1st and 14th Amendment rights on a "public" easement.

    The suit was brought by the ACLU on behalf of behalf of the First Unitarian Church, Utahns for Fairness, and the Utah National Organization for Women, not by "an openly gay ex-Mormon" as you claim.

    After the one-sided easement restrictions were ruled unconstitutional, the city simply gave up the easement. So it was not "a gay man's zeal" that turned the plaza into a little bit of Riyadh, but rather the cowardice of Rocky Anderson and the SLC Council.

    The church has always called the shots on the plaza, even when there was a "public" easement. The problem is, most of those shots ricochet right into the church's own feet.

  • Anonymous
    July 29, 2009 4:04 p.m.

    There are NO CHARGES because there was NO CRIME!

    LDS Security are foolish and incompetent.

  • Anonymous
    July 29, 2009 3:56 p.m.

    Wood1271, in all of your estimable law enforcement experience, did you take the time to read the statute? To wit:

    76-6-206. Criminal trespass.

    ...
    (4) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that:
    (a) the property was open to the public when the actor entered or remained; [indeed the plaza was open to the public] and
    (b) the actor's conduct did not substantially interfere with the owner's use of the property. [it was late at night and the only people apparently on the plaza were security and the couple]

  • Attorney is nuts..
    July 29, 2009 3:53 p.m.

    One of the two guys said he had protested the potential closing of the "public" plaza prior.

    The church stated that the guys were not just kissing, but were involved in other groping, etc. Then they wouldn't leave and started yelling/swearing.

    If the church had any evidence of this, the two should be charged. If not, that is something else.

  • RE:wood1271
    July 29, 2009 3:31 p.m.

    EXACTLY, and perfectly well said. Obviously the prosecutor desired to make it go away instead of doing their job.

  • Roger S.
    July 29, 2009 3:09 p.m.

    Question: is there really people who have lived in Salt Lake City for as long as these two men have lived here who do not know that the LDS Church Plaza belongs to the LDS Church and is private property?

    I can't believe that these two men did not know they were on private property when they strolled through the Plaza.

  • DanO
    July 29, 2009 3:05 p.m.

    Reggie? LGBT response? Excuse me? It's the City Prosecutor saying that the proper signs weren't posted. When the couple was being told to leave, they did the right thing and asked the police be called, they were then handcuffed by the security and detained. The City Prosecutor's statement it pretty clear, if you're going to invite people onto your property, you should at the very least post a sign that says that it is indeed private property and that the owner reserves the right to allow who they do and don't want on it. The Church continued to lie about their role in this, the couple's statements were consistent with police report. The Church's was not.

  • this is insane
    July 29, 2009 2:58 p.m.

    This issue is one a prosocuter that is not going to prosacute a gay perspon for any reason, and two if the violation is against a mormon it may not be prosucated.

    Mr. Gill is a very good attorney and has done a very good job for the city. However in this case he is doing what seems to be politically correct and making sure he deflects any flack from the gay community.

    It is too bad that a valid criminal case can be rejected simply because of political views. This simple issue could cost Mr. Gill his job.

  • wood1271
    July 29, 2009 2:18 p.m.

    I have been a cop for over 20 years, 10 of spent as a criminal investigator and this is the weakest excuse not to prosecute I have ever seen.

    If you look at the statute it clearly states that once a person is asked to leave by the property owner or their representatives regardless of the reason and that person refuses to leave they are trespassing. It does not matter whether or not you agree with the conduct or not, a private property owner has the right to ask people to leave. Every private property owner should be concerned about this ruling.

    Ignorance of the law has never been a reason to justify a person breaking the law whether they agree with it or not. There are signs at both ends of the plaza that clearly identify it as private property. But assuming they missed the signs, persons representing the poperty owners advised them they were no longer welcome. They were asked to leave and they refused, case closed.

    Regardless of your personal views, this was simply Sim Gill looking for an easy way out of a touchy subject and pushing it back on the LDS church. Nice.

  • ummm
    July 29, 2009 2:11 p.m.

    re:anonymous
    The gay commnity (with Channel 4 in the lead and Deeda Seed as "fanatic" cheerleader) made this a big deal NOT THE LDS CHURCH (whom I am sure wish it would just go away)

    The City prosecutor - NOT THE LDS CHURCH - didnt follow though with the charges

    Your hypocrisy is showing

    BTW - I am not LDS - but I tire of the Mormon bashing by the "tolerant' class

  • Anonymous
    July 29, 2009 1:56 p.m.

    What a bunch of hypocrites! The LDS Church and its fanatic members make such a BIG DEAL out of this, and then don't even follow through with charges!

  • ummm
    July 29, 2009 1:46 p.m.

    Except that the two men acknowledged they had been drinking and confessed they were verbally abusive to security (how would that go over if it were on the front lawn of the Unitarian Church?)

    This is primarily a political stunt by passive/aggressive former Council Person and Anderson appointee Deed Seed to get more air space.

    She wants video time for her cause - facts and truth are really quite irrelvant.

    Gay fundamentailists, such as Seed, do not speak for all homosexuals any more than Al Sharpton speaks for all racial minorities.

  • Reggie
    July 29, 2009 1:35 p.m.

    Typical LGBT response. "But I didn't know any better." "There should have been signs." "You don't have special rights, we do!"

  • Get over it.
    July 29, 2009 1:24 p.m.

    Silly. Silly. Silly. If not prosecuted, perhaps the church security guard acted hastily? I don't know. I wasn't there. So much hate posted and we all live in the same place. Can't we just get along and respect each other? Apparently not.

  • Dutch
    July 29, 2009 1:18 p.m.

    Wall it off and be done with it. Cancel all of the cheap leases for church property then raise the rates. welfare operations to allow memeber only - The church should discontinue all positive contributions to the Salt Lake City area.

    or put a sign on each end of the plaza reminding visitors that is it is private property and actions to be regulated by LDS Church Standards.

  • Naruto
    July 29, 2009 1:17 p.m.

    I have no doubt the prosecutor had full access to the surveillance footage. I am sure that is why charges are being dropped, because they knew they didn't have a case. It begs the question, was security lying about the two people being belligerent and drunk?

  • The world is welcome here...
    July 29, 2009 1:14 p.m.

    Smart move by both the city and the church. Bad PR no matter what people say is bad PR.

    Just gate all entrances to temple square, the plaza and the mall between the COB and executive building. Keep the sister missionaries posted at all gates to keep out undesirables.

    It is there property and that is the way it is.

  • Steve
    July 29, 2009 12:44 p.m.

    Unfortunately and apparently, the Church will need to fence off their beautiful and "open" plaza, and post signs indicating that it's private property.

    (There is no law regarding "private discrimination" on private property. Property holders can prohibit whatever activity they want to. I'm guessing in most jurisdictions, adults would prefer NOT to see public displays of affection, whether they be gay or straight.)

  • lost in DC
    July 29, 2009 12:37 p.m.

    looks like pebble andersen is still calling the shots in SLC

  • Sally
    July 29, 2009 12:33 p.m.

    let the blood bath begin...

    I'm sure we will see lots of posts that bring out the worst in people on both sides of this argument.

    Why can't we just get over it and get along???

    That being said... I as a gay person think that if it is private property, the church should be allowed to dismiss anyone they chose.

    Do I think it is fair? No. Do I think that it sheds good light and publicity on the church? No.

    The problem is that it is a public walkway that just happens to be owned by the church. This is why it needs to be made more clear by the church that they are intolerant of the gay community. Perhaps posting some signes with a little rainbow and an X over it so that we are all clear that the church does not want this kind of behavior on their property.

    It is sad, but it is what it is. And justice has been served correctly here.

  • Common Sense
    July 29, 2009 12:32 p.m.

    Hooray for the Prosecutors showing some common sense. The criminal part of the legal system needs no part of this boondoggle. They have enough work with real criminals. The proper venue, if any, is civil action.

  • Release The Video
    July 29, 2009 12:24 p.m.

    The LDS Church claims that the gay couple was drunken and lewd. The couple says that it was confronted after one gave the other a simple peck on the cheek. Which account is correct? The video evidence should show it. If you assume that Sim Gill competently reviewed this case, he should have obtained surveillance video of the incident from the Church. The Church invoked the power of the state to remove the couple from its property and has alleged criminal trespass. The public is now entitled to know whether the incident resulted from a crime or from private discrimination. The video should be made public.

  • ummm
    July 29, 2009 12:23 p.m.

    re: Henry Drummond
    You have it wrong Henry: looking like a public access does not make it one (any mall, private campus, etc can control their own property regardless of how public it looks).
    Originally it was planned that the plaza would have a public access easement: blame the ACLU for making sure it is NOT public now.

  • interesting
    July 29, 2009 12:19 p.m.

    It is imporatant to note that the original plan was to maintain a public easement across the Main Street Plaza (which would allow public access but would also have rules similar to parks - which includes the prohibition of alcohol). However a lawsuit forced the elimination of the easement and made the property entirely private.

    What is most interesting is that the man who headed up pushing the lawsuit - is an openly gay ex-Mormon. So it is a gay man's zeal that ultimately led to the right of the LDS Church to remove the two gay men from their property. Ironic.

  • Outrageous!
    July 29, 2009 12:17 p.m.

    This is the most preposterous reason imaginable to refuse to prosecute!

    Evidentiary issues? What evidentiary issues?

    The smoochers were told they were on private property by men who identified themselves as Church security personnel, and asked to leave.

    What the smoochers THOUGHT they had a right to do is a matter of complete indifference to the law.

    They were trespassing. They were asked to leave by duly commissioned representatives of the property owner. They didn't leave. Prosecution rests.

    This is purely and simply a poltically motivated snub of the Church and its beliefs by the prosecutor's office. An indication it intends not to protect the Church's property or interests, as the law requires. There is no other property owner in the city that would be treated this shabbily by public officials.

    If these smoochers thought they had a right to grope one another in your front yard, does that make it OK?

    This is an outrage!

  • Henry Drummond
    July 29, 2009 12:12 p.m.

    It looks like the prosecutor in this case is the only one with any sense. You can't have a plaza that is "open to the public" and that in fact invites and welcomes people to come and go as they please and then start ejecting people for arbitrary reasons. It will be interesting to see how the Church responds. I bet at some point you start seeing a very long list of what you can't do on the plaza.