A waiter in Santa Maria, California, is recovering in hospital after he was stabbed for “being gay”.

According to Associated Press, police said the unnamed waiter was at work in a Denny’s restaurant in the early hours of Thursday morning when 24-year-old Curtis Martin tapped on the window and asked to use the toilet.

Mr Martin was let inside and allegedly asked the waiter if he was gay.

When he said he was, police say Mr Martin stabbed him in the neck and throat with a knife.

The waiter is expected to survive his injuries.

Mr Martin has been charged with attempted murder and committing a hate crime.