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Donations pour in as Indiana pizza shop owners go into hiding over anti-gay remarks

Donations pour in as Indiana pizza shop owners go into hiding over anti-gay remarks
Memories Pizza, Walkerton, Ind.
Memories Pizza, Walkerton, Ind.

WALKERTON, Ind. — An Indiana pizza shop that came under fire after its owners said they would refuse to cater a same-sex wedding, have been rewarded with more than $500,000 in donations while the restaurant’s owners say they’ve gone into hiding.

Memories Pizza in Walkerton faced criticism this week after co-owner Crystal O’Connor appeared in a local news report expressing support for a new Indiana religious objections law.

O’Connor told WBND-TV the business reflects her family’s Christian beliefs, which wouldn’t allow them to cater a gay couple’s wedding.

O’Connor’s father, Kevin, also appeared in the report telling the reporter being gay is a choice. He said he chose to be straight, so “why should I be beat over the head because (gays) choose that lifestyle?”

The Facebook and Yelp pages for the restaurant about 20 miles southwest of South Bend were bombarded with negative reviews, and O’Connor said he family started receiving death threats.

A coach of a high school golf program was suspended after a Twitter post that mentioned going to Walkerton and burning down the restaurant.

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The O’Connors have closed the restaurant indefinitely and a site benefiting the restaurant had raised more than $500,000 as of Friday morning.

WNDU-TV reports that O’Connor and her family are considering leaving town.

The Indiana religious freedom law has since been amended to prohibit individuals and for-profit businesses from using the law to refuse service based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

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