A small, family-owned pizzeria is being savaged in the national media for saying that it wouldn’t cater a gay wedding. Why? Because they had the temerity to respond to questions from a local TV station that was fishing for comments.
Memories Pizza in Walkerton, Ind., is a shop owned by the O’Connor family that seeks to operate in accordance with its owner’s Christian values. Now, the shop is being crushed by an international campaign that is barraging its Yelp, Facebook, and Google+ pages with hatred, after its owners told ABC57 News that they wouldn’t want to cater a gay wedding.
“The business is Memories Pizza,” anchor Colleen Bormann intones at the start of ABC57’s video, “and tonight they are standing up for their religious beliefs.”
However, Memories hasn’t done any kind of “standing up.” The business didn’t release a press statement, it didn’t place an announcement outside its shop, and it didn’t approach ABC57’s tip line asking to have their story told. Rather, it was ABC57’s news crew that went shop to shop looking for a business willing to say it supported the law.
“We were talking to different businesses, and somebody suggested ‘let’s pop in to Walkerton,” an employee at ABC57’s news desk told The Daily Caller News Foundation. From there, she said, the news crew found the O’Connor’s business and successfully obtained an interview. The business presented an easy target for reporters looking to find a business uneasy about gay marriage, as it is festooned with dozens of items testifying to its owners’ faith.
The O’Connor’s frank discussion of the law with ABC has also driven bizarre criticisms in the media of the family, such as mocking them for even considering the idea that gays might get pizza for a wedding.
“Anyone has the right to believe in anything. Crystal O’Connor believes that gays are so deviant they want pizza at their weddings, I believe that Crystal O’Connor is an imbecile,” writes Rich Juzwiak for Gawker.
“I think this woman severely underestimates the good taste of gay couples. No gay couple would be caught dead ordering this shitass pizza for a wedding,” says Drew Magary for Deadspin.
But of course, the O’Connors didn’t come out and make the assertion that gays are chomping at the bit for pizza-fueled weddings. They were responding to questions from ABC that raised catering weddings as a possibility, and answering in a way to be explicitly clear that they didn’t oppose serving gays people — or anyone — pizza.
ABC57 isn’t helping things, as it only mentions the O’Connor’s statement that they are completely willing to serve gay customers at both its video segment and its written story. Meanwhile, by titling the story “First Michiana business to publicly deny same-sex service,” they misleadingly suggest the O’Conner’s oppose serving gays entirely.
This sleight of hand continues with the station’s video. Memories Pizza’s approach is contrasted with the attitude of “welcoming” South Bend, as though the O’Connors, by refusing to cater gay weddings, had said they were unwilling to have gays in their community.
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