Ten days ago, when the owners of Walkerton, Ind.-based Memories Pizza told a local news crew they would refuse to cater a gay wedding if asked, they had no idea their restaurant would become a battleground for Indiana's (now-revised) "religious freedom" law. The provision — which lasted mere days — gave businesses the right to refuse to serve or sell to members of the LGBT community.
Refusing to perform services or provide product in exchange for money because of a customer's sexual orientation is discrimination.
Memories Pizza was forced to close, temporarily, because of the media and public onslaught. But late yesterday, after days of social media harassment and an incredibly lucrative GoFundMe campaign that raised nearly $1 million for the small business, Memories Pizza reopened. The Daily Mail reports that "all eight tables were filled and six people were waiting for carryout orders" when the restaurant opened at 4 p.m.
Kevin O'Connor, co-owner of the pizza parlor told the press, "It's a relief to get going again and try to get back to normal." Despite the extreme reaction to his family's beliefs, it has not changed his mind. Gays are welcome at Memories Pizza, but the O'Connors would decline to cater a gay wedding if asked. "It's my belief. It's our belief. It's what we grew up on. I'm just sorry it comes to this because neither one of us dislike any of those people. I don't hold any grudges."
What the O'Connors don't seem to realize is that declining to cater a gay wedding — or refusing to perform services or provide product in exchange for money because of a customer's sexual orientation — is discrimination. Indiana state law allows gay marriage, so businesses are not at liberty to discriminate. Perhaps it's fortunate then, as several comedians have pointed out, that most gay couples probably wouldn't even consider serving mediocre pizza at their wedding anyway.
In an interview, the O'Connors told the press they weren't "sorry" for what they said, "but sorry it went that way," referring to the reaction from both those who supported and opposed what they believe and "stand for."
The O'Connors told Fox News that they would be using the money raised while they were closed to expand their business, and would donate some of it as well.