Appearing on the Fox Business Network, the co-owner of a small Indiana pizzeria that is at the center of anti-gay ‘religious freedom” debate, attempted to explain their policy of refusing to cater gay weddings, saying to do so would be “a sin.”
Crystal O’Connor, co-owner of Memories Pizza in Walkerton, Indiana, became an unwitting national celebrity earlier this week when she gave an interview with a local news station, saying she supported Indiana Governor Mike Pence (R) and the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which allows businesses to discriminate against the LGBT community.
“If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no,” O’Connor told reporter Alyssa Marino of ABC57.
After the story went national, the pizzeria was deluged with attacks, including threats, having their Yelp page swamped with criticism and offensive pictures, and calls for a boycott of the restaurant on social media. Concerns about safety led the owners to temporarily shut the restaurant down, as conservatives rallied to their side, raising over $500,000 through a crowd-sourcing website.
Speaking with host Neil Cavuto, co-owner O’Connor explained how the initial interview came about before detailing the philosophy behind their decision to not cater gay weddings.
“They are welcome in the store, anyone is welcome in the store, but it’s against our belief to condone, to cater to their wedding. We’re condoning that if we do that, and that is against our religion. That is against our faith,” she said.
Asked how serving gays in the restaurant was different than catering a wedding, O’Connor was at first confused, before explaining that it isn’t a sin to serve gays in the restaurant.
“It is not a sin that we bring gays into our establishment, and to serve them” she said. “It is a sin, though, if we condone — if we cater their wedding. We feel we are participating. We’re putting a stamp of approval on their wedding, and we cannot do that.”
Pressed by Cavuto to explain how that is not discrimination, O’Connor said that it wasn’t “hateful.”
“It’s not all hateful, we show no hatred towards them,” she said. “We just — we ask that they respect as we have to allow the way they believe — we just ask that they respect the way we believe.”
O’Connor stated that the restaurant will open again but was unsure exactly when, saying, “I’m the one who will serving the customers and answering the phone, and I’m not ready to face that yet.”
Watch the video below, uploaded to YouTube by Fox Business;