Mormon Church wants buffer

Associated Press/February 16, 2004

Salt Lake City -- Mormon church officials have suggested that the city establish a buffer zone separating church conference attendees from the street preachers who harangue them.

The next conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is in April, and church leaders say they will advise members attending the two-day gathering to ignore the protesters.

The church officials do not want confrontations like those at October's conference, in which street preachers waved Mormon temple garments. Two Mormons were arrested after trying to take the clothing from the protesters.

In a December letter to city officials, church attorney Von Keetch suggested the city revise its free-speech ordinance, the Salt Lake Tribune reported. He suggested separating the anti-church preachers from the counterprotesters, and keeping all demonstrators about 20 yards from Conference Center entrances.

He also called for further restricting noise levels and requiring permits for all demonstrations.

City Attorney Ed Rutan said the city is addressing the concerns.

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