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Wednesday, January 08, 2014
Calif. Caterer Refuses to Do Gay Wedding Based on Christian Beliefs: 'I Hope You Appreciate My Honesty'

Calif. Caterer Refuses to Do Gay Wedding Based on Christian Beliefs: 'I Hope You Appreciate My Honesty'

A same-sex couple in California is claiming a local catering company refused to service their upcoming wedding ceremony due to their sexuality.

Kama Kaina and Mathew Rivera, a same-sex couple of four years, reportedly contacted Janet Zimmerman Catering back in November to request her services at their upcoming gay marriage ceremony in Big Bear, Calif. in June 2014. The couple received a response email from Zimmerman saying she could not provide catering for their wedding because her Christian beliefs prohibited her from supporting them celebrate their lifestyle.

"Thank you for contacting me in regards to your upcoming wedding," Zimmerman reportedly responded in an email to Kaina, according to The Advocate, an LGBT publication. "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."

Kaina and Rivera have said that they are currently not planning to pursue legal action against Zimmerman, and they are now searching for a new catering service to help them on their wedding day. Zimmerman is likely not in violation of California's anti-discrimination laws because her catering profession may be regarded in court as a service, rather than a business. Online searches for Zimmerman's catering service yields one result on Facebook under the name Janet Zimmerman-Catering, but this page has since been removed.

Since gay marriage has been legalized in several states, business owners have been put into difficult situations when wanting to deny services to same-sex weddings, even if their decision is based on religious beliefs.

Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian nonprofit group, is currently challenging a judge's previous ruling that Jack Phillips, owner of the Masterpiece Cakeshop in Denver, Colo., could not deny service to a same-sex couple based on his beliefs. Kristen Waggoner, senior counsel for the nonprofit group, said in an statement that the judge's ruling denies Phillips of his constitutional rights. "Forcing Americans to promote ideas against their will undermines our constitutionally protected freedom of expression and our right to live free."

In another recent case, Sweet Cakes bakery in Gresham, Oregon was the focus of public criticism after the bakery's owner, Melissa Klein, refused to bake a cake that would be used at a same-sex wedding. The bakery was ultimately forced to close its doors due to boycotting and a discrimination investigation by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries.

When the bakery closed, Klein posted on her business's Facebook page a verse from Proverbs: "Better is a poor man who walks in integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways."

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