The Mormon church’s vigorous support for the California ballot measure that banned gay marriage last year has turned the Utah-based faith into a lightning rod for gay rights activism.
A nationwide “kiss-in” Saturday comes after gay couples in Salt Lake City, San Antonio and El Paso, Texas were arrested and cited for tresspassing or harrassed by police for publicly kissing.
In Utah, the July 9 trespassing incident occurred after a couple were observed by security guards on a downtown plaza owned by The 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.
Church observers say the church’s intervention into California politics has left the faith’s image tarnished.