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Michael Jensen, Gay 'Woven' Author, Gets Mormon Church's Backing In Publishing Dispute

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SALT LAKE CITY -- More than 40 Mormon authors are backing a gay writer in his dispute with a Utah publisher over a reference to the writer's boyfriend.

Authors Michael Jensen and David Powers King say Sweetwater Books, a division of Cedar Fort Publishing & Media based in Springville, canceled publication of their young-adult fantasy novel "Woven" because of the flap.

The authors, in a news release, said the action was taken after Jensen demanded that his biographical blurb include the fact that he lives with his boyfriend in Salt Lake City.

Forty-one Mormon authors had signed a letter in support of Jensen as of Saturday morning, The Salt Lake Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/1aAxOLi).

"While publishers have the right to choose what they will and will not publish, we believe books should be accepted or rejected upon the merits of their content, quality, and commercial viability, not on any other factor," the letter states.

Cedar Fort officials did not respond to requests for comment.

Abel Keogh, who signed the letter, said it was initiated by author Braden Bell.

"He said that this isn't right and we need to do something," Keogh told The Tribune, adding that many of the signatures come from authors who are either under contract with Cedar Fort or have had works published by it.

Ryan Rapier, who also signed the letter, said he's surprised because Cedar Fort had no problems with a gay character in his book, "The Reluctant Blogger." In it, the gay character leaves his fiancee at the altar and acknowledges he's gay to his friend, the protagonist.

"It's very odd because they had chosen to take a risk with my book," he said.

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Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, http://www.sltrib.com

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