Anthony Bourdain: an LGBT rights champion

Anthony Bourdain was many things: a chef, a writer, and a gifted storyteller. But Bourdain, who died on Friday, will also be remembered as a fierce champion of LGBT rights.

When a Colorado bakery refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, despite state law preventing businesses from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, Bourdain took the side of the two gay men and the wider LGBT community when he signed a brief arguing that cakes were not protected by the first amendment – and that bakers did not have a constitutional right to discriminate against same-sex customers.

“Even when prepared by celebrated chefs, food retains a clear purpose apart from its expressive component: it is made to be eaten,” the brief said.

“For that reason, food products (and their preparation) are not necessarily protected by the First Amendment.”

Bourdain was also excoriating in his disdain for other anti-gay companies, too.

In 2011, after New York state legalised equal marriage, a San Antonio coffee company tweeted: “No human law can ever legitimize what natural law precludes #SorryFolks #NotEqual #WhyBother #ChasingAfterTheWind #SelfEvident.”

It got a blunt reply from Bourdain. “Dear Brown Coffee,” the chef said, “God called. He said you suck.”

When asked about boycotting Chick-fil-A, whose chairman made a series of anti-gay comments and donated money to anti-LGBT causes, Bourdain conceded that they had a right to say and believe what they wanted.

But what they believed, he added, was “really stupid offensive shit that I don’t agree with.”

Tributes paid to Bourdain by Queer Eye’s Antoni Porowski

In 2014, the celebrity chef recorded a video for the Human Rights Campaign as part of its ‘Americans for Marriage Equality’ campaign.

“I’ve met many people in my life, all over the world and a common thread that people I admire whoever they are, wherever they are, are people who are proud to do things with love and feel a sense of responsibility to others,” he said.

“Who or what sensible person be against that? The desire to love and to commit to another human being – these are virtues. It’s why we need nationwide marriage equality now.”

When not advocating on behalf of the LGBT community, he was a media personality on CNN presenting the travel show, Parts Unknown, taking him around the globe.

CNN released a statement paying tribute to the work he had done for the broadcaster.

“His love of great adventure, new friends, fine food and drink and the remarkable stories of the world made him a unique storyteller,” the network said.

“His talents never ceased to amaze us and we will miss him very much. Our thoughts and prayers are with his daughter and family at this incredibly difficult time.”

The chef and writer shot to fame after his book, Kitchen Confidential, was published in 2000, which shone a light into the underbelly of professional cooking.

He went onto win several Emmys and a Peabody for his broadcasting work.