Indiana Pizza Shop Cites RFRA To Refuse Catering Gay Weddings


By the time I had time to start working on a post on the so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Indiana earlier this week the national outraged had already reached such a level that there was no longer any point in the original post. The negatives have all be adequately spelled out at many sources. The best defense for conservatives on this was the claim that the law was not intended to promote discrimination and would not do so. We quickly have a case proving them wrong:

A small-town pizza shop is saying they agree with Governor Pence and the signing of the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The O’Connor family, who owns Memories Pizza, says they have a right to believe in their religion and protect those ideals.

“If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no,” says Crystal O’Connor of Memories Pizza.

She and her family are standing firm in their beliefs.

The O’Connors have owned Memories Pizza in Walkerton for 9 years.

It’s a small-town business, with small-town ideals.

“We are a Christian establishment,” says O’Connor.

The O’Connor family prides themselves in owning a business that reflects their religious beliefs.

“We’re not discriminating against anyone, that’s just our belief and anyone has the right to believe in anything,” says O’Connor.

So, when Governor Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law, the family was not disappointed.

“We definitely agree with the bill,” says O’Connor.

I certainly have not read everything posted by supporters of the law, but I can’t help but wonder if there are any such examples of people actually being denied religious liberties who would be helped by this law. I mean true religious liberties. Quite often when people on the right speak of freedom of religion they are really advocating the freedom to impose their religious views on others.

And why must a pizza shop be “a Christian establishment?”

At least the backlash against the law in Indiana has also had some positive impact with Governor Asa Hutchinson backing away from signing a similar law. I believe we are at a tipping point where discrimination against gays is no more acceptable than discrimination based upon race. That doesn’t man it will disappear from our society, but even Republican politicians will find it difficult to openly support such legislation.

Update: TMZ reports that the pizza restaurant has been forced to close temporarily following the negative reaction to the owner’s comments.


  1. 1
    David Duff says:

    Where in your Constitution does it state that a privately owned business MUST sell to everyone irrespective.  For example, if a man dressed in Nazi regalia walks into a Jewish shop is the owner required BY LAW to do business with him?

    Jest askin’!

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    I’m not sure if this particular example has ever come up legally–the closest I can think of off hand is the ACLU defending the rights of Nazi’s to march in the past.

    Of course what is seen as a basic civil liberties matter (rights of Nazis to march despite disagreement with them) can vary based upon a country’s history. Therefore it is understandable that this is seen different in Germany. Similarly matters such as systematic discrimination against a group is seen different in the United States due to hour history of Jim Crow laws. I really couldn’t care less from a legal perspective if an individual pizza shop refuses to serve gays. Public opinion, as opposed to the law, appears to have taken care of this. The problem comes when an area systematically refuses service to a particular group, and the message laws such as this present.

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