A gay couple has been banned from property owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons) after an altercation with security guards over a kiss, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

The men say they were roughly cuffed and banned from the Mormon Church's headquarters campus in Salt Lake City, Utah after one man kissed the other on the cheek.

In the altercation, Matt Aune, 28, and his partner Derek Jones, 25, were detained by church security guards, and cited by city police for trespassing.

The pair crossed the Main Street Plaza, which belongs to the church, Thursday night holding hands as they walked home from a concert. Near the edge of the plaza, Aune says he stopped, hugged Jones and kissed him on the cheek.

The couple was cuffed and detained when they protested against requests by the guards that they leave. Guards told them public displays of affection are not allowed on the plaza.

“They targeted us,” Aune told the paper. “We weren't doing anything inappropriate or illegal, or anything most people would consider inappropriate for any other couple.”

In a statement, church officials denied discriminating against the couple, saying they were asked to leave as any other couple would be. But when the paper asked what is considered inappropriate behavior, spokeswoman Kim Farah refused to answer.

Farah said the two men were detained and the police were called because they “became argumentative,” used profanity and refused to leave.

Aune admits he used profanity: “When I was handcuffed, I was very pissed and I unleashed a flurry of profanities.”

The Mormon Church has been under intense criticism by gay rights advocates after its members, at the request of church leaders, donated millions of dollars – and thousands of volunteer hours – to the campaign to ban gay marriage in California, Proposition 8.