In a recent post about the small Indiana pizza shop that came under fire for the owners’ stand against catering a hypothetical gay wedding, Western Journalism told you about the amazing amount of money supporters donated to provide financial relief after bitter controversy and threats forced the family-owned restaurant to close.
Memories Pizza, run by Kevin O’Connor and his daughter Crystal in the tiny town of Walkerton, Ind., plans to re-open on Wednesday. The O’Connors say they’re incredibly grateful for all the encouragement from friends and customers, and for the more than $842,000 that some 30,000 well-wishers donated through a GoFundMe campaign. Individuals associated with The Blaze set up the fundraising effort.
In a report that first appeared in The Daily Mail, Mr. O’Connor says that as much as his little pizza parlor could use all that money — he explains that Memories sells “a little over 100 pizzas a week” — he and his daughter plan to share their newfound wealth.
“They revealed they are set to share their new fortune with disabled children, a women’s help group, firefighters, police trusts, Christian churches, and Washington florist Barronelle Stutzman, 70, who was fined after declaring she would not serve a gay wedding.”
You may recall that the elderly florist was slapped with a $1,000 fine last month after she declined to sell flowers for the 2013 wedding of longtime gay customers. A judge ruled that Stutzman, a Christian with deeply-held religious beliefs, violated the Washington state law against discrimination.
As for his religious beliefs and how they may have been influenced by the furor over his pizza parlor’s backing of Indiana’s recently enacted Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Kevin O’Connor tells The Daily Mail he still feels the same about not supporting a gay marriage celebration.
“‘If any child of mine came out as gay and entered into a gay marriage, I would still love them, but Daddy wouldn’t be going to the wedding.’”
And here are O’Connor’s thoughts about all the hateful comments and frightening threats of violence made against his business and his family:
“I don’t hate these people. They are just angry. I am not really sure what they are so angry about.
So many things today are topsy turvey. What used to be wrong is now right and what used to be right is now wrong. I don’t hold anything against them.”
BCN editor’s note: This article first appeared at Western Journalism.