An Indiana pizza shop that made national headlines during the state’s religious freedom law debate has gone out of business, according to IndyStar.com.
Memories Pizza in Walkerton, Indiana has been closed since last month. The restaurant gained national notoriety after it became the first business to publicly say it would refuse service to any gay weddings, an announcement prompted by the state’s controversial “Religious Freedom Restoration” Act (RFRA) law.
In an interview with a local TV station, the owners of the establishment said that although they wouldn’t block in-store service to members of the LGBT community, they would not cater any same-sex weddings because it goes against their religious beliefs. Backlash from the interview caused the business to shut down temporarily and beef up police presence due to threats.
Glenn Beck’s conservative news outlet The Blaze created a GoFundMe account for the restaurant to raise money for the owners’ profit losses from the initial closure, raising more than $842,000. The shop eventually reopened and stayed in business until last month.
As MSN points out, only 19 states and the District of Columbia have anti-discrimination laws in place in regards to public businesses.
In 2015, then-Indiana Governor Mike Pence said that the RFRA is meant to protect free exercise of religion and does not permit discrimination of any kind. Speaking to The Indianapolis Star, Pence said it was a “red herring” to suggest that the law is a license to discriminate. “This isn’t about disputes between individuals; it’s about government overreach,” he said. “And I’m proud that Indiana stepped forward.”
But Pence dodged a question from ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, who asked him, “Yes or no, should it be legal to discriminate against gays and lesbians?”
“George, you’re following the mantra of the last week online, and you’re trying to make this issue about something else,” Pence replied. “What I am for is protecting, with the highest standards in our courts, the religious liberty of Hoosiers.”
“I signed the bill,” Pence continued. “We’re going to continue to explain it to people that don’t understand it. And in — and if possible, we will find a way to amplify what this bill really is in a legislative process. But I stand by this law.”
Watch IndyStar’s report on the story below:
Featured image via screen grab/IndyStar