A few days ago, a young gay couple was asked to leave a Sacramento-area mall after being seen kissing by security guards. The local Fox affiliate broke the story:
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.
The mall cited its code of conduct, but nowhere did it say anything about personal displays of affection, and Fox soon found the mall wasn’t enforcing the same rule for straight couples:
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 response, local activists have planned a kiss-in for today at 11 AM at the mall. Called Love is Love, the event is planned to be non-confrontational and to celebrate love.
The mall management is supporting the kiss-in. The management met with some of the activists yesterday. Jovi Radtke reports (from the Facebook page):
“I really wanted to let everybody know that we just got out of a meeting with the management and different representatives of the Westfield Galleria. To say that they support us would be a dramatic understatement! They’re really going above and beyond to show all of us that they not only care, but are also on the exact same page in regard to embracing and spreading love for ALL people. It’s been a really eye-opening and inspiring experience to see how much positive change can come from what was initially such a negative occurrence. I hope this helps everybody’s expectations about what tomorrow is all about. We’re not there to start a war, we’re there to unify in love for the betterment of all people.”
The mall management also issued an apology yesterday, as Fox reports:
The original statement read, “Persons that violate the Code of Conduct are asked to leave the property.”
Friday afternoon, the Galleria released its fourth revision, part of the statement reads, “Let us be clear: if anyone was made to feel singled out on the basis of sexual orientation at a Westfield location, we apologize[…]”
We’re going to the kiss-in, and will report more from there.