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Memories Pizza Closed; Restaurant Wouldn't Cater Same-Sex Weddings

Memories Pizza Closed; Restaurant Wouldn't Cater Same-Sex Weddings

Many customers wait for service as Memories Pizza reopened for business Thursday, April, 9, 2015, in Walkerton, Indiana. (Tom Coyne/AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 25 April 2018 11:12 AM EDT

Memories Pizza, the Indiana restaurant that became a national focal point over religious and civil rights in 2015, has closed, according to the South Bend Tribune.

The Walkerton, Indiana, pizzeria entered the national debate over LGBT rights after the store's owners told a local television station in 2015 that they would not cater a gay wedding because of their religious beliefs, but would not deny service to customers in their restaurant, per the Tribune.

The attention came at the time when the state was wrestling with the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act, in which supporters said it protected religious rights while opponents charged that it legalized discrimination against gays and others, the Tribune wrote.

"If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no," Crystal O'Connor, co-owner of the restaurant with her husband Kevin, told WBND-TV in 2015. "We are a Christian establishment. … We're not discriminating against anyone, that's just our belief and anyone has the right to believe in anything."

The restaurant closed for eight days after the television interview but then received a wave of donations in support, including more than $800,000 after TheBlaze network launched a GoFundMe campaign, the Tribune wrote.

"Out of anger, there seems to be no getting along anymore," Kevin O'Connor told the Tribune a year after the restaurant reopened in 2016. "If your opinion isn't what somebody else's is, then I'm a dirtbag. Just because I don't agree with you doesn't mean I have to hate you."

The Tribune wrote that several business owners and people in Walkerton, a town of about 2,100, said privately that they believed the owners just wanted to retire and the closure was not due to the 2015 controversy.

Vice President Mike Pence signed Indiana's version of RFRA into law as governor of the state in 2015, causing a backlash from LGBT community and some businesses and pulled commitments away from Indiana, the HuffPost reported.

Pence would sign a revised version of the law shortly afterward, explicitly preventing businesses from denying services to anyone based on categories that include sexual orientation and gender identity, the website said.

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Indiana restaurant Memories Pizza, which drew national attention in 2015 for saying it wouldn't cater same-sex weddings, has gone out of business.
memories pizza, closed, indiana, marriage
Wednesday, 25 April 2018 11:12 AM
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