A gay couple says they were asked to leave a California shopping centre because they were kissing and holding hands in public.

Daniel Chesmore, a 21-year-old student at University of California Berkeley and Jose Guzman, a 24-year-old elementary school tutor said they were approached by a mall security guard while innocently kissing each others cheeks at the Westfield Galleria shopping centre in Sacramento, reports Fox40.

Mr Chesmore explained: “I kissed him on the cheek. That’s how my boyfriend and I show affection.”

The couple were able to record last Saturday’s confrontation with a mall security guard on a mobile telephone.

The voice on the recording can be heard saying: “If you continue to kiss, you will be asked to leave the mall. Period. I counted you guys kissing 25 times. I told you before, we contact any couple…about this.”

A spokesperson for the shopping centre explained that anyone who is found disobeying the code of conduct will be asked to leave.

However, Fox40 said they found nothing in the mall’s code of conduct that ban public displays of affection.

Mr Guzman said: “I feel like we’re always treated differently because we’re gay. It makes me sad.”

In an undercover investigation, Fox40 spotted dozens of straight couples openly holding hands and kissing at the Westfield Galleria and did not witness any of the couples being asked to leave the shopping centre.

Mr Chesmore said: “In a perfect world, there would be no difference in treatment between straight couples and gay couples.

“It makes me feel like no matter what I do in society, I will always be different.”

Last week, a Harvey Nichols ad campaign in the UK which was claimed by critics to feature “offensive” images of lesbians kissing avoided censure, after the department store responded to complaints by arguing that the advertisement promoted equality.