WALKTERTON, Ind. (Christian Examiner) – Pizza parlor owner Kevin O'Connor and his daughter Crystal, who received national media attention for her comment that Memories Pizza would not cater for a theoretical same-sex wedding, have responded to taunting accusations that they provided pizzas for a gay wedding.
O'Connor said serving a man a pizza is a strange definition of catering. "We weren't catering to their wedding," he told the Blaze. "They were picking [pizzas] up."
He doesn't have a problem serving Robin Trevino, who made a video about the pizzas at the wedding, even if he, his daughter, or his staff had known where the pizzas were going.
"I just kind of laughed at it, I guess. It was a silly thing that they did," O'Connor said.
Crystal, who appears in the clandestinely taken video, served Trevino the pizzas without comment. Memories Pizza has always maintained that it will serve pizzas to anyone—it just chooses not to cater a same-sex wedding.
In an opinion article in the Daily Signal, Travis Weber, director of the Center for Religious Liberty at the Family Research Council, applauds O'Connor's mild response.
"It is an undisputed fact that Memories Pizza served a man regardless of his sexual relationships," Weber wrote. "Its owners did not deny him service. They didn't 'turn him away.' They didn't quiz the man when he came in, asking whether he identified as a homosexual or what he would use the pizza for."
Memories Pizza received hateful internet reviews and was threatened with being burned down in April of this year after Crystal's comments went viral. The pizzeria closed down for a short time, then reopened after hundreds of thousands of dollars were donated to the O'Connors, who have used some of the money for bills and some for charity.
Tweets with a Memories Pizza hashtag and posts on the restaurant's website have been mocking the company for bigotry and homophobia—when all they did was sell Trevino the two large pizzas he ordered.
Weber notes O'Connor did not threaten Trevino with retaliation, complain that his conscience was wounded, give the video scathing reviews, or speak insultingly of his family.
"People are interested in exercising the teachings of their faith regarding marriage," Weber wrote, "and in continuing to live quiet and peaceful lives in harmony with their communities, as they have been doing for years. They haven't sought a fight; it has come to them."
O'Connor seemed unbothered by the video, renewal of media attention, or the amusement of the wedding guests when one of the grooms announced the origin of the pizza.
"I don't know if it was to try and make us stupid or make themselves look stupid," he said. "But if they got a kick out of it, that's okay. It doesn't hurt me."
Here is the takeaway: O'Connor will serve anyone in his restaurant. He doesn't want to cater food for an event against his religious beliefs. But he doesn't feel tricked or offended when a customer eats his pizza at a same-sex wedding.
Weber points out the difference between a business owner wanting a blank check to serve select customers and one who doesn't want to support an external event. "As long as we live in a democracy, people will have differing views on moral questions," Weber said. "The model of tolerance displayed by Kevin O'Connor is as good as any for how we can live together with those differences."