Indiana Pizzeria that Won’t Cater Gay Weddings Forced to Close, Gains $55k Donations

Barbara Boland | April 2, 2015
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Two days ago, the proprietor of Indiana family-owned Memories Pizza told a local reporter that they would not cater a gay wedding. Less than two days later, TMZ reports the family-owned pizza parlor has had to close due to the ensuing backlash and an avalanche of threats.

Memories Pizza owner Kevin O’Connor said “vitriol toward his restaurant was so intense it was closed until further notice,” reported The Hill.

Immediately after the local news ran the segment that showed the pizzeria stating they supported Gov. Mike Pence’s (R-Indiana) Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the story, and the public outrage, went viral.

A high school coach tweeted a threat to burn the pizzeria down, and the business, which previously had only two Yelp reviews (both positive,) garnered thousands of negative Yelp reviews within hours. Although Yelp is removing the posts, they cannot keep up with the avalanche of vitriolic posts.

The pizzeria’s social media accounts were flooded with negative posts. Their website was hacked and replaced with obscene images. The Washington Post reports that the pizzeria’s phone line has had a busy signal ever since the controversy erupted.

The pizzeria is very obvious about the Christian faith of its owners. A sign posted in the store reads: “Every day before we open the store, we gather and pray together.” There are numerous crosses and even a prayer box with a sign: “If there is something you would like us to pray for, just write it down and drop it in the box.”

Although it has been inaccurately reported in several places, the family has never refused to serve gay people. Co-owner Crystal O’Connor simply answered a hypothetical question (the pizzeria has never catered any weddings,) “If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no.”

In an explanation of her answer provided to Dana Loesch, co-owner Crystal O’Connor explained that they would not cater a gay wedding because they believe to do so would entail condoning the wedding, which is “against our religious beliefs.”

“We’re very hurt and confused. We stood up for what we believe, and the news took it totally out of proportion. They lied about it,” said co-owner Crystal O’Connor to The Blaze’s Dana Loesch. O’Connor added that she has been suspended from a second job she holds.

“Because I don’t believe in something that they want, they see fit to be angry about it… It’s just been ugly. I don’t know what to call it,” said owner Kevin O’Connor to Fox News last night.

The venomous treatment the pizzeria received has spawned its own backlash. A GoFundMe page set up “to relieve the financial loss endured by the proprietors’ stand for faith” has received over $55,000 donations from 1,551 people in 14 hours. Matt Hourihan, who donated $20, wrote:

“I don't agree with you, but no one deserves to be bullied, threatened, or hounded out of business.” 

 

 

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