Kurt Van Gorden and Melvin Heath distribute Baptist pamphlets on a plaza parkway near the Conference Center for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where the Mormon church is holding a semiannual conference.
The men are told that they are trespassing on private property, even though it should be a public street. The problem is that the street used to be public, but Salt Lake City sold it to the Mormon church in 1999.
An easement that was reportedly part of the sale is supposed to provide for 24-hour public access. However, the Mormon Church is permitted to set its own rules that prohibit "engaging in any illegal, offensive, indecent, obscene, lewd or disorderly speech, dress or conduct."
The city government of Salt Lake City has turned over to the Mormon Church the exclusive rights to distribute literature, broadcast music, and make speeches on what used to be a public sidewalk that was open equally to everyone.