A third “kiss in” in support of a
gay couple who were detained by the Mormon Church over sharing a kiss
on church property is moving from Salt Lake City to San Diego.
Spirits Foundation (ESF), a gay rights group, will stage the
event in front of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints'
temple near La Jolla, California on Wednesday at 5PM.
For two consecutive Sundays in Salt
Lake City about 100 demonstrators exchanged affectionate kisses and
wore paper hearts in solidarity with Matt Aune, 28, and his partner
Derek Jones, 25, who were detained by church security guards and
cited by police for trespassing after sharing a kiss on the Main
Street Plaza, a walkway that connects the Mormon Temple to other
church sites that belong to the church.
The couple was cuffed and detained when
they protested against requests by guards that they leave. Guards
told them public displays of affection are not allowed on the plaza.
The group said the event is intended to
encourage dialogue between the church and the gay community.
“Though we strongly disagree with the
LDS church's stance on LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender]
issues, this is a time for both sides to come together and engage in
respectful dialogue,” A. Latham Staples, executive director of ESF,
said in a statement.
Church officials have defended their
actions, saying the couple was detained and cited for trespassing by
the Salt Lake City police because the men were “engaged in
passionate kissing, groping, profane and lewd language, and had
obviously been using alcohol.”
“There was much more involved than a
simple kiss on the cheek,” the church said in a statement Friday.
The second “kiss in” became
heated when anti-gay demonstrators rallied on behalf of the