(KCPW News) A third gay rights kiss-in is scheduled in downtown Salt Lake City on Saturday. And this time, it’s an international event. One of the organizers, Provo resident Ash Johnsdottir, says the recent incident on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Main Street Plaza shows there’s clearly a double-standard when it comes to kissing in public.
“I’ve been on Main Street Plaza with my husband, you know long before this happened, and we’ve held hands and kissed. And we’ve never received any sort of confrontation from LDS security guards,” Johnsdottir says. “And so I felt that it was pretty ridiculous when the LDS Church said it had nothing to do with the fact that they were gay.”
Utah’s capital city is one of 50 participating in the U.S. and Canada to bring awareness to what organizers are calling “harassment” of gay couples who kiss in public. The event was organized after three recent incidents led to the arrest or detention of gay couples, including one last month in Salt Lake City, and others in El Paso and San Antonio, Texas. Johnsdottir says the event is not an attack on the LDS Church, but rather an international celebration of simple displays of affection.
Speaking at the event will be Salt Lake City Council District 3 candidate Jennifer Johnson. She says she’s participating as an ally of the gay community, and not necessarily as a political candidate. Her ex-husband, the father of her children, is gay. And she says it’s important for her to support them.
“An atmosphere not of confrontation, but really of celebrating diversity, that’s my goal. So, that’s where I’m at with this,” Johnson says. “But I’m not coming at this from a point of confrontation. I don’t believe that accomplishes anything. And really that was my restraint with some of those other events.”
The kiss-in will take place tomorrow morning at 11:30 at the Library Square amphitheater. Similar events will be held throughout the nation.