Meet Matt Aune and Derek Jones, your new favorite Salt Lake City residents. Sneaking a smooch — on the cheek — Thursday in front of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Main Street Plaza, the pair were detained by church security guards for “inappropriate behavior.” And then the Salt Lake police cited them for trespassing. Of course, the church says they didn’t target these two men because they were gay, but because “two individuals came on church property and were politely asked to stop engaging in inappropriate behavior — just as any other couple would have been,” according to a spokeswoman.
The path where they walked is officially church property, but is used as a pedestrian avenue open to the public. That’s because it was a public walkway until 2003, when, reports the Salt Lake Tribune, “in a controversial land-swap deal … the easement became private property, allowing the church to ban protesting, smoking, sunbathing and other ‘offensive, indecent, obscene, lewd or disorderly speech, dress or conduct,’ church officials said at the time. In exchange, the city got church property for a west-side community center.”
Meanwhile, the police are refusing to provide a copy of their report just yet, and the church won’t say why, exactly, their security guards even notified police.
Which begs the question: Shouldn’t they have alerted God instead, because only he knows how to deal with sinners?
(Photo: Salt Lake Tribune)