gay coupleAfter a gay couple was reportedly ejected from a mall in Roseville, California for excessive kissing and hand-holding, gay activists are protesting with a kiss-in this Saturday.

Advocate Beverly Kearney of Sacramento has organized a kiss-in at the Westfield Galleria Starbucks at 11 a.m. this Saturday after 21-year-old Daniel Chesmore and his boyfriend, Jose Guzman, 24, were asked to leave when a security guard observed them kissing and holding hands in public.

Westfield’s manager issued a statement about the incident late Tuesday, obtained by The Sacramento Bee:

All of our customers are welcome, and all are welcome equally – including those displaying affection. We do have rules and occasionally our security officers approach customers, inform them of the rules, and ask them to comply. We’re sorry for any misperceptions with regard to the incident reported upon yesterday. At Westfield, we celebrate the diversity of our employees, shoppers and community, and will continue to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for all.

The statement went on to say that public displays of affection are not an issue, but Chesmore and Guzman violated rules that prohibit sexually explicit conduct and the security guard asked them to stop. Without specifying that conduct, the statement claimed that the couple complied with the security guard’s request but were not asked to leave.

According to Westfield, similar behavior by heterosexual couples has resulted in the same request to abide by the rules.

In a statement, Shara Perkins Murphy, executive director of the Sacramento Gay and Lesbian Center, said the security guard’s actions were “unfortunately representative of the hate still harbored by many.”

Murphy attempted, unsuccessfully, to speak with Westfield’s manager before commenting publicly, and expressed hope that “the leadership of the Roseville Galleria will engage in real discussion and not blow this off with platitudes.”

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