Misdirected Outrage on Main Street Plaza

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.

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7 Responses

  1. rmwarnick says:

    The LDS Church and its apologists play victim all the time, which is remarkable for such a powerful organization that always gets its way in Utah.

    I did not appreciate the theft of Main Street, and then the follow-up theft of the public easement that was a condition of the transfer of Main Street to Church control. So you get no sympathy here.

  2. (Greaat)AuntJean says:

    While I do agree with rmwarnick for the most part, and am very much an advocate for treating gay people and couples just like anyone else, it’s also true that all evidence points to the couple instigating this. So I have to side with the Church on this one.

    Unfortunately, huge gay protests sell many more newspapers and news minutes than “Oh, we were wrong,” so I don’t think we’ll see many red faces.

  3. rmwarnick says:

    So, let’s go to the video…

    The Salt Lake Tribune has obtained LDS Church surveillance video of Matt Aune and Derek Jones harassed by five security guards.

    It’s pretty easy to see who is picking a fight.

    From the SLT article:

    On Wednesday, Salt Lake City Prosecutor Sim Gill announced the city will not pursue the trespassing case, citing a “misunderstanding” that occurred because the couple mistakenly believed the privately owned plaza contains a public right of way.

  4. Jesse says:

    Without audio, the video lets you believe whatever you want to believe. Nobody knows what exactly was said. If Matt and Derek were using lots of profanity and baiting the security (at least half of which they admit to), that puts a whole new angle on it, doesn’t it?

  5. Bill says:

    The point is being missed. whether or not you believe the Church has the right to own the land is irrelevant. They do. This “couple” knew that they were on private property owned by the church. This couple for what ever reason was asked to leave this private property by a duly authorized agent of the owner and they refused. I don’t care if they were being asked to leave because they were picking their noses or they were breathing too much air. What part of private don’t you understand. This is a simple private property and rights issue. I can’t just wander on to someones private property during the hunt posted or otherwise and if I do I would be glad to just be escorted off rather than other possible alternatives

  6. Bill says:

    As to the couple not knowing. 1 of the couple was at the protest when the church 1st got the property so “they didn’t know” just doesn’t hunt. Did you also notice that 1 of the trespassers put his hand on the rent a cop before the whole thing blew up. These guys wanted a scene and they got one

  7. Shark says:

    According to the National Survey of Family Growth conducted by a division of the Center for Disease Control over half of the people who have ever had sex with a person of the same gender have not done so in the past 12 months and now identify as hetersexual. Of those who do not identify as heterosexual more than half identify as bisexual. Taken together, these facts show that over 80 percent of people who have this kind of sex admit it was a choice.

    It is tough to avoid artificial outrage when deep down you now the facts are against you.

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