Foodie fans might have recognized a familiar face or two standing outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday morning. Chef Art Smith, who owns the recently remodeled Art and Soul restaurant, and his husband, Jesus Salgueiro, were among the throngs of pro-gay marriage advocates holding court as, inside, the nine justices heard oral arguments over California's Proposition 8.
"The vibe was great," Smith told Yeas & Nays on Tuesday afternoon. "I have never, honestly, participated in any kind of a rally or protest and this was my first." Salgueiro said he was handed a "Get Equal" banner and held on to it for two hours. "The energy was incredible," Salgueiro said. "There's a lot of people who don't have a voice, there's a lot of people who have been discriminated [against] and that's why I want to be there," he added.
Salgueiro and Smith both noted that they've had it easy in comparison with many of their LGBT peers. "So being gay has never been an issue in my life, but not everybody is like us, you know?" Salgueiro pointed out.
That clout comes from the fact that in past lives, Smith worked for Oprah Winfrey, as her personal chef, and in the Florida Governor's Mansion, cooking for the Bush clan. "I have cooked for every possible famous person in the world -- kings and presidents -- and I kept my mouth shut because I didn't want to do anything to take away from them," Smith explained. "But the cook is now speaking up, and if they want me to cook for them, they sure as hell better support me."
One person Smith is working to get on board is former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. "So I've chatted a lot with Jeb Bush, and Jeb just recently talked about that states should have the right to decide and I wrote him an email," said Smith, saying that he pushed Bush to come out for gay marriage. "You know, if he would, and coming from a family like he does, I think it would speak to so many."
But for now, for this week at least, the debate is being carried on inside and outside the Supreme Court, but Smith believes the fight is already over. "Darlin', enjoy yourself because we're going to win," he said. "It's over."