The Mormon church’s vigorous, well-heeled support for Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in California last year, has turned the Utah-based faith into a lightning rod for gay rights activism, including a nationwide “kiss-in” Saturday.
The event comes after gay couples here and in San Antonio and El Paso, Texas, were arrested, cited for trespassing or harassed by police for publicly kissing. In Utah, the July 9 trespassing incident occurred after a couple were observed by security guards on a downtown park-like plaza owned by the 13 million-member Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The court case was dismissed, but the kiss sparked a community backlash and criticism of the church.
“I don’t think that kiss would have turned out to be the kiss heard round the world if it were not for Proposition 8,” said Ash Johnsdottir, organizer of the Salt Lake City Kiss-In.