The owners of Memories Pizza have closed up shop and gone into hiding after saying they would not cater a same-sex wedding and supporting Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s controversial “religious freedom” law, but thousands of people have rallied to support the embattled owners and will soon make them millionaires.
This week, Memories Pizza owner Crystal O’Connor told an Indiana news reporter that she supported giving business owners the right to choose not to do business with people when it violated their religious beliefs. O’Connor, who is openly Christian, said she did not support gay marriage and would not lend her business to one, if asked.
The backlash was immediate, with Memories Pizza becoming the face of the controversial Indiana law and leading to many threats against both O’Connor and the restaurant. Many people took to Facebook and Yelp, flooding them with angry letters and poor reviews. There were death threats and a post on Twitter suggesting someone burn down the pizzeria.
In the wake of the controversy the O’Connor family decided to shut down Memories Pizza, and the family went into hiding while trying to clarify their stance.
“I don’t have a problem with gay people, I do not condone gay marriage and that’s what I said,” co-owner Kevin O’Connor explained to The Daily Beast. “I don’t turn anybody away from the store, I don’t have a problem with gay people. I just don’t condone the marriage.”
Now many are standing behind the Memories Pizza owners. Conservative activist Dana Loesch set up a GoFundMe page to accept donations, with Loesch noting that the family is being persecuted for their thoughts on the issue. Memories Pizza has never denied service to anyone, Loesch noted.
“When asked by local press the hypothetical question of whether or not they’d prefer to have their family owned business, Memories Pizza, cater a gay wedding, the owner said no citing their own religious beliefs as the reason.”
“Rather than allowing this family to simply have their opinion, which they were asked to give, outraged people grabbed the torches and began a campaign to destroy this small business in small town Indiana.”
“All for having an opinion that is rooted in faith.”
The fundraiser has been a huge success, raising close to $900,000 for the Memories Pizza owner in just two days, with donations coming in from all over the world. But despite the support and a fundraiser that will likely bring more than $1 million, Crystal O’Connor said she’s not sure if Memories Pizza will ever re-open.
[Image via Raw Story]