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Top Chef Host Colicchio Speaks Out on Marriage Equality After Contestants are Asked to Cook at a Heterosexual Wedding


Top Chef's Tom Colicchio spoke out for marriage equality following an episode this week in which contestants were required to cook for a wedding. Lesbian contestant Ashley voiced anger at being forced to cook for a wedding when same-sex couples are not allowed to marry. Another lesbian contestant, Preeti, was not as angry even though she's been with her partner for 13 years.

Said Colicchio in a blog post: Colicchio "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."

Watch the segment of the show with Ashley's complaint, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Well said Tom. While I understand the contestant's anger, weddings provide a large amount of business to the catering/food industry; kudos to Tom and Top Chef for keeping her statement in the show and for using the opportunity to make a statement supporting equality.

    Posted by: Billy | Aug 28, 2009 2:37:27 PM

  2. Outstanding, chef!

    Posted by: Scott | Aug 28, 2009 2:39:00 PM

  3. Thanks for speaking up for us, Tom.

    Also, Ashley looks like Paul Rudd.

    Posted by: Joel | Aug 28, 2009 2:40:47 PM

  4. I have made a personal pledge NOT too attend any hetero weddings....unless, they are "immediate" family....

    Posted by: Disgusted American | Aug 28, 2009 2:45:38 PM

  5. As if I didn't already have a total boner for Tom....

    Posted by: Dylan | Aug 28, 2009 2:46:45 PM

  6. I agree with Billy. I was glad when I watched what was going down with Ashley this week. Now, can you say "Be my Top Chef, Daddy Colicchio". Woof.

    Posted by: SFScottie | Aug 28, 2009 2:47:58 PM

  7. The show is Top Chefs. It's about Cooking for crissakes. So they have to cook for a straight wedding. Get over it!

    So when my partner and I got married (because we live in a state where we can thank God), had we had Ashley do the food it would have been okay. If my wonderful sister and her fiance asked her, she'd tell them to fuck off?

    This is why some straight people think we come across as entitled assholes. Everything is NOT political.

    Ashley should grow up and get her pea brain out of the blender.

    Posted by: jtramon | Aug 28, 2009 2:48:28 PM

  8. That was so much clearer and stronger than anything the "No on 8" folks here in California put out. Well done.

    Posted by: M. | Aug 28, 2009 2:48:40 PM

  9. This is just another reason to love Tom and top chef.

    Posted by: Tony | Aug 28, 2009 2:54:51 PM

  10. >>This is why some straight people think we come across as entitled assholes. Everything is NOT political.

    Ashley should grow up and get her pea brain out of the blender<<

    Give me a fucking break with this bullshit. Ashley's commentary is quite possibly the most eloquent and dead on perspective I've seen or heard on this issue. This is not whining, this IS about equal rights for ALL! How fortunate for you that you live in a state where you can get married, because my partner of 10 years and I are not able to enjoy that privilege. BTW, the federal government still doesn't recognize your marriage, so why not jump on the bandwagon and lend a helping hand in our fight for equality.

    Posted by: Keith | Aug 28, 2009 3:03:45 PM

  11. I see JTramon's point, but the fact is, it is all too easy for us to succumb to the straight majority's superficially reasonable request that we keep politics out of certain contexts, when in fact those are precisely the times when we should refuse to be silent. Many straight people have no idea what it really feels like to experience this discrimination, and pointing it out need not be whiny, just educational.

    Posted by: eclecticon | Aug 28, 2009 3:13:46 PM

  12. saw the show. love Tom C for saying that, but that contestant's whining got too much play. yes, i'm queer, but I just wanted her to stfu. under such circumstances, it's much more effective to make your point ONCE and let. it. go.

    Posted by: oy gevalt enough | Aug 28, 2009 3:19:32 PM

  13. Okay... I always thought he was hot, now he is hotter... he makes a great point in his statement... as for the challenge... I can see both sides here, but when you enter into a show and competition like this, you have expect some things... and when in catering business, you sometimes have to cater things you might not like to make money... have a great weekend!!!

    Posted by: Kelly | Aug 28, 2009 3:19:59 PM

  14. I love Top Chef & Tom.

    I always knew Tom was smarter than the average bear. Now he just needs to whip up some gourmet food for his pic-a-nic-basket.

    Posted by: David in Houston | Aug 28, 2009 3:20:39 PM

  15. His show is on Bravo. He's practically preaching to the choir.

    Here's what we really wanna know: How does Padma stay so slim, while Tom (how to put this delicately?) does not?

    Posted by: crispy | Aug 28, 2009 3:23:32 PM

  16. Grea Post. Keep it up!!

    Posted by: Daniel | Aug 28, 2009 3:26:16 PM

  17. Marry me Tommy...

    Posted by: BEN | Aug 28, 2009 3:26:36 PM

  18. I'm glad Colicchio didn't go this route, but I do think we in the gay community should call people out on this kind of sentiment.

    If you choose food service as your life's work, you have to be ready to cook for wedding parties without sentimentalizing it for your own perceived injustices.

    I'm against "boycotting" heterosexual marriages as well. I just can't see anything good coming of being pissed off at straight people getting married.

    Am I glad this issue was addressed on national television? Absolutely. However, I was most impressed with Preeti's response and amused by Ash's. Ashley's just fell flat for me.

    However, she's still a good cook (who overreached on the challenge, we'll see how that works out for her in the long run), and certainly gets a pass for being a little overly sentimental in one challenge.

    If she brings this chip on her shoulder to the military challenge next week, her stock will lose a lot of value with me as a viewer.

    Posted by: Jonathan | Aug 28, 2009 3:34:45 PM

  19. "This is why some straight people think we come across as entitled assholes. Everything is NOT political.

    Ashley should grow up and get her pea brain out of the blender."

    If it weren't for people who thought it WAS political, you'd never have been able to marry your partner.
    Maybe you should be forced to move to a state where there are only lazy queers too brainwashed by the hetero majority to fight for their rights? You no more deserve to take advantage of them than the closeted right wingers who fight against our rights by day then go out and party at bars by night, or even marry their partners. Sick.

    Posted by: Kevinvt | Aug 28, 2009 4:04:56 PM

  20. I don't get why folks are beating up on Ashley for her comments. Did you folks miss the part where she talked about putting her feelings to one side and getting down to the cooking?

    Don't we have every right to be pissed? My partner and I are married in one state, but not the state we live in. What kind of crazy is that?

    Shouldn't we be applauding her for using her moment on television to speak her mind the way she did? Remember when we used to think that would be a very brave thing to do? What good--I ask you--does silence bring to us, ever?

    If anything, critique her panna cotta.

    It truly is wonderful that Chef Colicchio took the time to write the blog entry, and we love him for it, but the real hero is Ashley.

    Posted by: EveretteW | Aug 28, 2009 4:35:00 PM

  21. I'm proud of Tom for taking a stand on this issue--and I'm really surprised and delighted at how eloquently and succinctly he slashed the opposition's points regarding religion, etc.

    Posted by: Ryan | Aug 28, 2009 4:36:22 PM

  22. Gosh--it's amazing that even GAY PEOPLE are divided on this issue! There are--and always have been--gay people, several of my friends among them, who are against gay marriage because it "apes" straight people.

    As I just said to my boyfriend, it's good for everyone when prominent people speak out in favor of gay people's equal right to try to find happiness. And Tom Colicchio did that with just the right amount of eloquent passion. He's a very good man. AND a very great chef!

    Posted by: Tom Steele | Aug 28, 2009 4:48:07 PM

  23. "This is why some straight people think we come across as entitled assholes. Everything is NOT political."

    We're entitled? What planet are you living on? We don't have marriage equality (you have nothing at the federal level, so in fact your marriage is marriage-lite), and, when you don't have something, you are not entitled. Heterosexuals are entitled and pointing that out is hardly asshole behavior. Neither is it political or, as someone else claims, a "perceived injustice." (Perceived? No, it's real, actually.) It is our lives. We not only have the right to speak out, we have the duty to. Then get on with the cooking.

    And, bravo, Tom. He has more balls than some of the Uncle Toms on this thread.

    Posted by: Ernie | Aug 28, 2009 4:53:23 PM

  24. crispy


    your bad

    Posted by: jimmyboyo | Aug 28, 2009 5:52:22 PM

  25. Saw the show, the editors chose to stick the lesbian's comments in way too many times.

    Once was enough, we got it-- I wonder if even she felt a little manipulated by it? Made her look petty in the context of the show.

    And I'm sure for the right dollar amount she'd cater any straight wedding any day of the week.

    Posted by: MichaelMichael | Aug 28, 2009 6:44:05 PM

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