Top chef on marriage equality

Tom Colicchio
Tom Colicchio

“The idea that religious leaders are continuing to shape state law is just wrong.”

Remember last fall’s boycott of El Coyote restaurant in West Hollywood by supporters of same-sex marriage after it was learned an owner had donated money to the campaign to pass Prop 8?

El Coyote had a sizable gay clientele on Thursday nights, the unofficial “gay night” at the restaurant, which packed the place. That all changed in the aftermath of Prop 8’s passing when the owner’s name appeared on donor lists that were available online and publicized by some media outlets.

Demonstrators appeared in front of the restaurant, business fell off on Thursdays, the pilloried owner did herself no favors when she tried to explain herself, saying if she had a chance to do it all over again, she would do the same thing, citing her religious convictions.

Such a mess for such a mediocre restaurant.

Enter Tom Colicchio, Bravo TV’s Top Chef lead judge and owner of Craft, his first venture into the  Los Angeles restaurant world, located in Century City. (Since the mid-’90s, his places have been sprinkled like fresh herbs all over Manhattan’s foodie jungle.)

In response to a recent episode of Top Chef when a lesbian contestant balked at cooking for an opposite-sex wedding in light of same-sexers being legally banned from marriage rights, Colicchio posted on his Bravo site blog about his views on marriage equality:

I’m going to go out on a limb and say a few words about same-sex marriage: First of all, part of the problem with the issue is that it is framed by opponents as a discussion of whether gay people should get special rights. This is specious – yes, special legislation or court decisions grant them the right to wed in a particular state, however this is done to ensure that they share equal protection under the law by finally being able to avail themselves of the same rights as everyone else.  They are not seeking special treatment, just equitable treatment.

Second, religion has no business being part of the discussion. When a couple is wed in a house of worship, the officiant may be performing a religious rite, but as far as the law is concerned, that officiant has been authorized to perform a civil function, plain and simple. And even were same-sex marriage to be legalized by the state, no one would be holding a gun to the heads of the clergy to require them to perform a ceremony that their faith or personal creed does not condone.

Just as some rabbis would not perform my marriage to my wife because I wasn’t Jewish, clergy can decline performing same-sex marriages; gay couples can either find clergy willing to officiate or can be wed in a civil setting.

The idea that religious leaders are continuing to shape state law is just wrong. The institution of marriage should be available to all. The idea that you can have a life-long partner and not make decisions for them in a hospital, not share in insurance benefits, not automatically have parental rights unless you are the birth parent, is just flat-out wrong.

Via Towleroad.

4 Replies to “Top chef on marriage equality”

  1. What a great, great man. I agree – he should run for public office. And keep religion far, far away from politics.

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