Free to Believe

Crystal and Kevin O'Connor

Memories Pizza: Walkerton, Indiana

On March 31, 2015, Memories Pizza's owners Crystal and Kevin O'Connor became the target of harsh criticism after they told WBND-TV (ABC57) that, they would likely decline to cater a same-sex wedding because such unions conflict with their Christian moral beliefs. Memories Pizza, in Walkerton, Indiana, had not actually been asked to cater any type of wedding, but a television reporter had posed the hypothetical question, in the wake of fierce statewide debate of Indiana's recently passed Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

According to the South Bend Tribune, "The comments led people from across the nation and even in other countries to post critical messages, lewd photos and negative reviews about Memories Pizza on the shop's Facebook page and restaurant-rating websites such as Yelp. A Concord High School coach was suspended Wednesday for allegedly tweeting that the pizzeria should be burned."

The O'Connors temporarily closed Memories Pizza after the furor erupted and Lawrence Jones, a sympathetic television contributor, launched a fundraising campaign to help the family recoup the revenue they might lose while Memories Pizza is closed. In twenty-two days, the GoFundMe web campaign garnered $842,442 in donations from 29,161 people. The O'Connors reopened their doors on April 9, 2015, and indicated they would be sharing part of the proceeds with a variety of charitable causes.

Photo credit: Courtesy of the Daily Mail