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Posted 05 Dec 2001   For week ended November 23, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 20Nov01

By Deborah Carl

LDS Church's Main Street Arguments Get Support from Other Churches

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has found allies in The Baptists, members of the Community of Christ (formerly the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), Christian Scientists and a dozen other Colorado congregations who are backing the Latter-day Saints in their right to dictate rules for the public access of the Main Street plaza in downtown Salt Lake City.

The Latter-day Saints bought a block of Main Street for $8.1 million and plan on turning it into a pedestrian plaza connecting North and South Temple. As part of the deal, the church had to grant 24 hour public access to the area. The church and the city agreed that there would be no smoking, sunbathing, bicycling or "engaging in any illegal, offensive, indecent, obscene, vulgar, lewd or disorderly speech, dress or conduct." At the same time, city leaders granted the church exclusive right to distribute literature and broadcast speeches and music on the block.

The First Unitarian Church's Rev. Tom Goldsmith objects to the grant of restrictions, "Now that the city has sold Main Street and allowed the new owner to silence and banish anyone who might offer an alternative voice or experience, we feel as though we are welcome here only so long as we are neither seen nor heard," Goldsmith said. In November 1999, the ACLU challenged the rules in court on behalf of Utahns for Fairness, the First Unitarian Church and the Utah National Organization for Women.

The judge ruled the property was sold legally to a private owner and as private property was not subject to the US Constitution's 1st amendment right of free speech. But ACLU attorney Stephen Clark says they are missing the point. "The city and the church have as much right as anybody to buy and sell property," he said. "The real issue is: Why did the city at the last minute agree to restrictions on the easement across the property? . . . The city tried to do something it can't do constitutionally: reserve a public thoroughfare through a private religious shrine. It's fraught with problems."

The ACLU filed an appeal with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver which will now decide if they will hear oral arguments or make a judgement from the written briefs.


Nation Watching Main St. Suit
Salt Lake Tribune 13Nov01 N1
By Rebecca Walsh: The Salt Lake Tribune

Mormon church backed by other religions in Main Street plaza suit
Phoenix AZ Republic (AP) 13Nov01 N1
Associated Press

See also:

ACLU Asks Appeals Court to Overturn Main Street Ruling

LDS Church Proposes Street Closing in Pocatello

Main Street Plaza ruled an 'Ecclesiastic Park' by Judge

Judge Rules for City, Church in Main Street Case

Court Filings In; Main Street Trial Set For February

LDS Church Objects to Main Street Coverage

Main Street Plaza Suit Hits New Dispute

ACLU Says SLC Refused To Settle Main Street Lawsuit

ACLU Can Look For Evidence Of Main Street Collusion

Salt Lake City set to clarify the sale of street

New Lawsuit Challenges Plaza Sale

LDS Church Opposes ACLU's Amendment To Main Street Lawsuit

Utah ACLU Says City Favors LDS Church In Main Street Lawsuit

Photo Shows Roof Almost on Main Street Garage

Smoking Permitted on LDS Church's New Main Street Plaza?

ACLU Opposes LDS Intervention in Street Suit

LDS Church asks to be a party in plaza suit

City answers ACLU's Main Street suit

Freedom Second to Money For Main Street, Says SLC

ACLU Sues Salt Lake City Over Sale

SLC Would Rather Give Up Access Than Change Deal

ACLU Intensifies Effort to Open Main Street Block to Protest

Avenues residents frown on Main Street


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