Nothing more than a small-town Indiana eatery a few weeks ago, Memories Pizza has quickly become a lightning rod for the public debate on the state’s “religious freedom” law.
Although Rosie O’Donnell has been almost entirely out of the public eye since she unceremoniously departed from The View, she recently sat down to discuss Memories Pizza and Gov. Mike Pence’s involvement with the law on SiriusXM Radio Town Hall. Rosie equated Mike’s approval to taking a pro-bigotry stance.
“How does one get away with, like the governor of Indiana, basically saying ‘I am for persecution’, ‘I am for bigotry’?”
O’Donnell appeared on the program with fellow LGBT activist Michelangelo Signorile, who argued that businesses like Memories Pizza are attempting to turn themselves into the victims of their own discrimination. In agreement, Rosie joked about the unlikelihood that the Indiana pizzeria would have ever had to deal with a request to cater a wedding of any kind.
“And remember that they were saying that, the pizza lady, that gays were going to cater their weddings with pizza. Not even lesbians would do that. We might do a potluck. We might make some chili, you know, if situations are tough.”
Despite dismissal by O’Donnell and other gay activists, Memories Pizza has been able to succeed against outrage from gay rights supporters over owner Crystal O’Connor statement that she would not cater a gay wedding. Although it initially appeared that Memories was going to shut down due to a siege of negative Yelp reviews blasting the establishment for the owner’s comments, hefty donations of over $200,000 from supporters has convinced them to stay open.
Whether or not you’re in agreement with O’Donnell, some media has been critical about the Memories Pizza story in general — saying that it was a distracting non-story blown out of proportion by the media, argued an editorial in Reason. Others saw the validity of its use as a symbol in the fight against the what gay rights groups see as openly discriminatory laws. That’s something that Memories’ owner continued to deny when interviewed by Fox News’ Neil Cavuto.
“It is not a sin that we bring gays into our establishment and to serve them. It is a sin though, if we cater their wedding. We are putting a stamp of approval on their wedding, and we cannot do that… It’s not at all hateful… We ask that they respect, as we have to allow the way that they believe, we ask that they allow how we believe.”
Do you agree with Rosie O’Donnell’s assessment of Gov. Mike Pence and Memories Pizza?
[Image via Rob Kim and Joe Raedle/Getty Images]