Amid the nationwide outrage over Indiana's new Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the owners of at least one family business in the state tell local media they "definitely agree" with Gov. Mike Pence's decision to sign the bill.
But after going public with their religious "convictions," the pizzeria and ice cream shop has temporarily closed for business, reports TMZ. Kevin O'Connor, the owner of Memories Pizza, said his restaurant was so bombarded by critical and even threatening comments on social media and over the phone that "he's closing his pizza joint ... at least until the dust settles," according to TMZ.
The O'Connor family, who have owned and operated the Walkerton, Indiana restaurant for the past nine years, told South Bend-based TV station WBND Monday that as their business is a "Christian establishment," it would deny a wedding catering request if that request came from a same-sex couple.
"We're not discriminating against anyone, that's just our belief, and anyone has the right to believe in anything," employee Crystal O'Connor told WBND.
Noting that the pizzeria and ice cream parlor's owners "pride themselves in owning a business that reflects their religious beliefs," WBND reports that the shop would not deny service outright to a same-sex couple or customers of other faiths.
"If a gay couple was to come in, like, say they wanted us to provide them pizzas for a wedding, we would have to say no," Crystal O'Connor said.
But that doesn't mean her family's shop is discriminatory, O'Connor said. In fact, Indiana's RFRA isn't about discrimination at all, she contends.
"I do not think it's targeting gays," O'Connor said. "I don't think it's discrimination. … It's supposed to help people that have a religious belief."
What's more, the escalating backlash to Indiana's RFRA is unfair, said Crystal's father, Kevin O'Connor.
"That's a lifestyle that you choose," Kevin O'Connor told WBND. "I choose to be heterosexual. They choose to be homosexual. Why should I be beat over the head because they choose that lifestyle?"
As BuzzFeed notes, the shop's star rating on Yelp has plummeted since the local news broadcast Monday, with numerous commenters telling possible customers that they'd rather enjoy pizza without a "side of bigotry."
Other Yelp commenters noted the apparent lack of experience with gay customers the business clearly demonstrated. "No self-respecting gay couple is going to serve pizza at their wedding, ever," jabbed Michael N. from West Hollywood.
Meanwhile, the shop's Facebook page is still exploding with similar critical comments, even after posts written this year were abruptly removed around 4 p.m. local time today.
"You have a right to refuse service to anyone you want," wrote Carrie Kobb before the post she commented on was removed. "And those of us who know that Jesus is about love and compassion have a right to never ever patronize your restaurant."
As an aside, some industrious activist promptly purchased the URL MemoriesPizza.com and populated the site with rainbows, phallic pizzas, and a request to "call us to cater yor gay wedding." The website even features a disclaimer: "No servers were hacked during the making of this website. If you own a business, buy a domain."
Watch the original local report below.