A lesbian business owner has given financial support to the owners of a pizzeria in Indiana which was forced to close temporarily because its owners said they would decline to cater for same-sex weddings.
Courtney Hoffman has joined thousands in giving money to Memories Pizza, saying she fully supports the owners’ right to run their business according to their beliefs.
Writing on the ‘Go Fund Me’ webpage, she said: “As a member of the gay community, I would like to apologize for the mean-spirited attacks on you and your business.
“I know many gay individuals who fully support your right to stand up for your beliefs and run your business according to those beliefs. We are outraged at the level of hate and intolerance that has been directed at you and I sincerely hope that you are able to rebuild.”
Co-owner of Memories Pizza Crystal O’Connor had told a local TV station that she supports Indiana’s religious freedom law and would happily serve a gay couple but would decline to provide food for a same-sex wedding.
The family-owned business was then forced to close after they received arson threats, death threats, and highly critical online reviews, despite never actually being asked to cater for a gay wedding.
Courtney Hoffman runs a popcorn stand with her girlfriend, and pointed out that they would decline to set up at an “anti-gay marriage rally”.
She has received a number of critical comments online for her donation, with many accusing her of being a “traitor” or “self-hating”.
Close to $850,000 in donations have poured in for Memories Pizza, which has now reopened.
Misunderstanding and confusion
The religious freedom law has now been changed following a campaign by gay rights campaigners, celebrities and businesses.
Ahead of the amendment, state governor Mike Pence said there had been “misunderstanding and confusion and mischaracterization of this law”, confirming that he ‘abhors’ discrimination.
The aim of the legislation had been to ensure that a person’s right to exercise their religion was not substantially burdened by the state, especially in light of the US Supreme Court last year allowing gay marriage in Indiana.
But last week, Pence signed a revised version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which pro-family groups have warned could result in Christians being forced to provide services for same-sex weddings.