Smooching and holding hands may not seem like a big deal, but two men were asked to leave the Westfield Galleria in Roseville, Calif. Saturday for doing just that.
“I kissed him on the cheek. That’s how my boyfriend and I show affection,” said Daniel Chesmore.
Sitting on the couch at 21-year-old Chesmore’s parents’ home in Roseville, he and his boyfriend Jose Guzman, 24, share a few kisses while holding hands.
“This is exactly what we did at the mall on Saturday,” Guzman said.
When a security guard confronted the couple about it at the Galleria, they began recording.
“If you continue to kiss, you will be asked to leave the mall. Period,” the voice on the recording said. “I counted you guys kissing 25 times. I told you before, we contact any couple […] about this.”
In an undercover investigation, FOX40 spotted dozens of straight couples sitting inside of the Galleria, holding hands and smooching, right out in the open. And as the hours passed, not one couple FOX40 witnessed was asked to leave the mall.
“In a perfect world, there would be no difference in treatment between straight couples and gay couples,” Chesmore said.
Galleria General Manager Eddie Ollmann would not comment in person, but released this written statement, “Persons that violate the Code of Conduct are asked to leave the property.”
FOX40 found nothing in the mall’s code of conduct about public displays of affection.
“It makes me feel like no matter what I do in society, I will always be different.” Chesmore says.
Both he and his boyfriend are tutors in an elementary school in Oakland. Chesmore, a student at U.C. Berkeley and Guzman, a Berkeley graduate. The couple told FOX40 they rarely ever kiss on the lips in public to be considerate to children.
“I feel like we’re always treated differently because we’re gay. It makes me sad.” Guzman said.