It’s very easy to get outraged at improper uses of power and force and rightly so. Such abuses are antithetical to American ideals be they used by public or private security forces. Sometimes, however, the accusers decide to inflate their claims when they are clearly in the wrong. I believe the recent kissing controversy to be one such incident.
To summarize, a couple of gay guys were walking down Main Street Plaza, property owned by the LDS Church, tossing PDAs at each other. Church security asks them to stop or leave, so they pick a fight with the rent-a-cops. One thing leads to another, they end up handcuffed and cited by the police for trespassing.
The big red flag in that summary is that the accusers picked a fight with private security. I may not be an expert on interpersonal relationships, but I can tell you that the only thing dumber than goading them would have been to start harassing a real cop. This leads me to believe that there must have been more going on than 50s-style hand-holding, hugging, and a peck on the cheek.
Indeed, the LDS Church said as much in a released statement. It would be pretty easy to dismiss it as a “he said, she said” at this point, though someone claiming to be a witness to the matter has said that the LDS Church’s version of events is the correct one. That comment is dated July 11, a full six days before the LDS Church released its statement on the event. Granted, any anonymous commenter on the Internet can be anyone saying anything, but the similarity is noteworthy.
So which account is correct? Let’s take into account some other related news stories. According to Glen Warchol of the Salt Lake Tribune, gay rights leaders in the Salt Lake City area recently met with Church officials to discuss the incident. Curiously, these same leaders have been silent (skip to Part 2) on the recent kissing protests. If gay rights leadership has talked to the Church and decided that they can’t participate in the kissing protests, it almost seems like they believe the account given by the Church. Someone claiming to know both Matt and Derek claims that they were trying to pick a fight, then play victim to incite people and cause an incident.
So far, few seem to have caught onto the ploy. Demonstrators have already showed up in front of other LDS temples to stage more kissing protests and many more are planned. Like this editorial, I wonder what they hope to accomplish other than being in-your-face. When the truth of the matter comes on out, they’ll all be rather red-faced that they stuck up for a couple of liars.