By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com March 11 2013 12:07 PM ET
Representatives for the Westfield Galleria Mall in Roseville, Calif. formally apologized for a security guard who allegedly ejected a gay couple from the mall after they shared a kiss in public, according to Towleroad. Daniel Chesmore and boyfriend Jose Guzman say that, at most, they shared a kiss on the cheek, a hug, and held hands while at the Westfield Galleria last week. That's when a security guard told them they were violating mall rules regarding public displays of affection.
At a kiss-in protest held outside the mall on Saturday, a gay employee delivered the company's formal apology. Approximately 250 LGBT couples attended the demonstration, reports the Roseville Patch.
"I'm here today to unequivocally state that everyone is welcome here at Westfield," said Keith Kaplan, Westfield's vice president of development. "And we sincerely apologize for any actions taken by any of us that made anyone feel otherwise. I am particularly proud to represent our company at this event. I live in Hollywood with my partner, Mike, of over 20 years."
Kaplan cited LGBT-inclusive policies Westfield, including domestic partnership benefits for its employees. Kaplan also said he was a part of meetings last week between Westfield officials and LGBT organizations, from which he and the company emerged looking forward to "more events and partnerships in the spirit of today."
The mall welcomed the demonstrators with a rainbow arch made of balloons, free water bottles and Mrs. Fields' cookies, according to the Patch. Watch Kaplan address the crowd below.