Calif. Caterer Kiboshes Same-Sex Wedding

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Monday Jan 13, 2014

A California couple planning their wedding was refused service when a caterer said working with them would go against her "Christian beliefs." According to a recent article in The Advocate, Kama Kaina contacted Janet Zimmerman Catering on November 26, 2013, with a request that the company cater his Big Bear wedding to longtime partner Mathew Rivera.

She initially agreed, but several hours later sent an email refusing the gig.

"Thank you for contacting me in regards to your upcoming wedding," Zimmerman wrote to Kaina, according to an email forwarded to The Advocate. "I really appreciate that you were honest with me and gave me a heads up that this would be a same sex marriage. I hope that you will also appreciate when I am honest with you when I say that catering your wedding would comprise [sic] my Christian beliefs and I will be unable to accept this job. I am sure that you will be able to find someone who will better suit your needs."

Although all Californians can now legally marry thanks to the repeal of Proposition 8, they may also be legally permitted to discriminate against LGBTs. The Advocate notes that sexual orientation is not one of the protected characteristics listed under the state's Business and Professions Code section 125.6, which applies to individuals licensed to render services.

The law may permit businesses with limited physical facilities and employees to skirt the law, although it would not allow for business owners to ask LGBTs to leave a place of business.

The couple, who met four years ago when Rivera offered Kaina his chair at a New Orleans airport, could file a complaint with the state's Department of Fair Employment and Housing, but have not yet decided to take any legal action.

Kaina, a line producer for Pivot TV's news program TakePart Live, said he was "completely shocked" by Zimmerman's response, but is still hopeful that a company will help him celebrate.

"I do believe that everything happens for a reason," Kaina said, "and that we will find the right caterer for our day."

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.


  • patroy, 2014-01-16 19:51:46

    Why use a anti-gay business in the first place? If you find out after the fact, find another, word of mouth can make or destroy a business! Use your voice in the way it needs to be used!!!!

  • GAG'EM, 2014-03-09 19:42:02

    Apparently bigotry and intolerance are central to her Christian beliefs. Was this in the 10 Commandments or is it a part of Jesus’s teachings?

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