Memories Pizza closed for good; Christian owners got death threats over convictions against same-sex wedding
Indiana's Memories Pizza has closed and ceased operations permanently. The eatery hit the headlines in 2015 after its Christian owners said they wouldn't cater to a same-sex wedding.
A sign found at the front window of Memories Pizza stated that it permanently locked its doors in March. Owner Kevin O'Connor and his daughter Crystal have decided to close down and retire, according to reports.
The O'Connors were first featured in the national news in 2015 after saying that they would refuse catering to a gay couple's wedding. Their pronouncements came after Vice President Mike Pence, who was the state's governor at that time, signed Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) that legally allowed establishments to refuse service if it went against their beliefs. The O'Connors told reporters that they would actually welcome anyone into their restaurant but that they would not cater to a gay wedding if asked.
"It is not right for a man to marry a man and for a woman to marry a woman," Kevin said in the interview. "People could end up marrying trees," he added.
Reporter Alyssa Marino, who talked to Indiana business owners regarding the RFRA, explained on Twitter: "I just walked into their shop and asked how they feel. They've never been asked to cater a same-sex wedding."
After the O'Connors' statements made headlines, Memories Pizza's Yelp page received a number of negative reviews. The restaurant owners also reportedly received death threats.
Supporters of Memories Pizza launched a GoFundMe campaign to help the O'Connors recover from the financial loss as a result of the controversy. The campaign raised over $800,000 in donations after six days, which exceeded its $200,000 goal. The O'Conners said that the extra money would go to a Christian florist in Washington, 72-year-old Barronelle Stutzman of Arlene's Flowers, who is in the middle of a costly legal battle after saying she wouldn't service a same-sex wedding.