A California shopping mall where a gay couple says they were singled out for kissing and holding hands will be the site of a 'Kiss In' protest on Saturday (9 March).
There has been growing public support for Daniel Chesmore and Jose Guzman who were shopping at Westfield Galleria in Roseville last week when they were reprimanded by a security guard.
Organizers say the 'gay peace protest' will take place at 11 am PST.
Mall officials say on their Facebook page that they 'embrace' the protest.
But in a statement late Tuesday, they challenge the version of events the couple gave to Fox station KTXL in Sacramento.
'Simple displays of affection including kissing or hand holding are not an issue,' they stated on their Facebook page. 'In this case, the couple was violating the rules and the security officer requested the sexually explicit conduct be stopped. The couple was not asked to leave, because the conduct did stop.'
They added: 'There is no basis for the claim that this incident was prompted by the sexual orientation of the individuals. Similar conduct among heterosexual couples has resulted in the same request to abide by the rules. Again, if this couple believes they were singled out, we apologize for that misunderstanding, and would like to assure them that was not the case.'
KTXL was told by a guard that Chesmore and Guzman were treated as 'any couple' would be if they were kissing or holding hands in public. The station reported that it stayed at the mall for several hours and saw many heterosexual couples engaging in such behavior and not a single one was approached by a guard.