Remember That Indiana Pizzeria That Wouldn’t Cater A Gay Wedding? It Closed

Even before marriage equality became law, businesses were declaring they wouldn’t provide service a same-sex wedding. There’s been bakers, florists, photographers—even a calligraphy company says it refuses to make invitations for a gay couple’s ceremony.

But then there’s Memories Pizza, the Walkerton, Indiana, pizzeria that dove into the culture wars in April 2015, when owner Kevin O’Connor announced he wouldn’t cater a same-sex wedding.

No one asked him to, actually. But O’Connor wanted us to know if they did, he’d turn them down flat. “That lifestyle is something they choose,” he told ABC 57. “I choose to be heterosexual. They choose to be homosexual. Why should I be beat over the head to go along with something they choose?”

This week The South Bend Tribune reported Memories Pizza has gone out of business.

Back in 2015, Kevin insisted Indiana’s then-new Religious Freedom Restoration Act protected his right to discriminate. But it didn’t protect him from a national backlash that O’Connor said was “not fair.” The Memories Yelp page was flooded with satirical reviews and borderline pornographic pictures, and he temporarily closed the parlor.

Republicans swarmed to the O’Connors rescue: A Memories Pizza GoFundMe launched by Glenn Beck netted more than $840,000, the second biggest in the company’s history.

Eventually the restaurant reopened and business resumed. The closure is being attributed to O’Connor’s desire to retire, not to slumping pizza sales. Ironically Memories did wind up catering a gay wedding: In September 2015, comedian Robin Trevino drove to the parlor and ordered several pies for his wedding the next day in Illinois.

Now a sign in the front window indicates Memories closed last month. Calls to the restaurant go directly to a busy signal.

The incident that put Memories—and Walkerton—on the map was just three years ago, but it feels like a million. Barack Obama was in the White House, we didn’t have a pending Supreme Court case about refusing to serve gay gay couples, and people who celebrated bigotry were bigots, not the “alt right.”

Ironically, the O’Connors wrapped themselves up in Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, signed into law by future vice president Mike Pence.

Perhaps he’ll meet a similar fate.

Editor in Chief of NewNowNext. Comic book enthusiast. Bounder and cad.

@ItsDanAvery

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