LDS Church Asks Supreme Court to Review Main Street Case

LDS Church Asks Supreme Court to Review Main Street Case

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The Mormon church has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review a court ruling that requires the church to allow free speech on a downtown plaza.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints bought a block of Main Street adjacent to its temple in 1999 from the city. A public easement guaranteed 24-hour public access to the plaza.

The sale came with a provision that the church would be able to regulate speech, behavior and dress on the property.

The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled those restrictions were unconstitutional, after religious and civil rights groups sued. The church would have to allow free speech activities just like on any other city sidewalk, the court said.

Since the 10th Circuit ruling in October, city Mayor Rocky Anderson has been pressing church and community leaders for some sort of compromise. Anderson's principal idea is a land swap: the Main Street easement in exchange for property the church owns on the city's west side. That land would be developed into a community center.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the church said it still thinks the land swap is a "workable solution." But the statement also says the church has confidence in its legal case and has filed papers with the Supreme Court, asking the justices to overturn the 10th Circuit ruling.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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