The owners of an Indiana pizzeria at the center of a national debate over gay rights gave Fox News an interview Thursday night to address the controversy.
Crystal and Kevin O’Connor, whose family owns Memories Pizza in Walkerton, Indiana, recently made headlines when they claimed they wouldn’t cater a same-sex wedding.
But they told Fox News host Sean Hannity that they have never served pizza at any wedding — gay or straight.
“Just anger. Bitterness,” Kevin O’Connor said when asked to sum up the reaction to their position on same-sex weddings. “Bitterness. It’s something I never expected or imagined when the comments were made. Just unimaginable to me.”
Crystal O’Connor ignited the controversy this week when she told a local Indiana television station that their Christian beliefs meant they would not deliver to a gay wedding. Subsequently, they said they became inundated with critical phone calls and other forms of harassment — forcing them to close down the store.
“We shut down because we had no way to differentiate whether we were getting real orders, or fake orders. And the phones just never quit ringing. It rang from eight o’clock in the morning continuously until sometime at night,” Kevin O’Connor said.
Internet users also relentlessly posted comments alleging discriminate as well as gay pride images all over the pizzeria’s Yelp page.
The Hoosier state is in the middle of a high-profile debate over its “religious freedom” law, which critics say would have opened the door for businesses to discriminate against gays and lesbians. Reeling from the backlash, the state legislature modified the legislation on Thursday to clarify that such discrimination would not be permitted.
However, things have not been all bad for the O’Connors and their pizzeria: A massive amount of donations have been pouring in. According to the television station WNDU, they have already received more than $US480,000 through a GoFundMe set up to support them.
“We plan on reopening soon we just don’t know when,” Crystal O’Connor said.
Watch their interview below:
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