A gay woman in Walkerton, Indiana has stirred up controversy after publicly declaring her support for Christian-owned Memories Pizza and their decision not to cater gay weddings.
Last week, the pizzeria was forced to close its doors after receiving a slew of hate-filled online threats when the owners, Kevin O'Connor and his daughter, Christie, said that their Biblical views regarding gay marriage would prevent them from catering same-sex weddings. The family clarified that while they would not cater a gay wedding, they would gladly serve gay customers.
Before long, the Christian community rallied around the O'Conners, and within three days, a GoFundMe account had raised over $840,000 to help the family--nearly $600,000 over the page's goal. One of the most notable donors was Courtney Hoffman, an openly gay woman who explained that while she doesn't adhere to the same values, she supports the O'Connors right to operate their business based on their Christian beliefs.
"As a member of the gay community, I would like to apologize for the mean spirited attacks on you and your business," Hoffman wrote after donating $20 to the GoFundMe account. "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."
Unsurprisingly, Hoffman's gesture didn't sit well with many supporters of gay marriage, who took to social media to call her a "backstabber" and "ignorant." But despite the backlash, Hoffman told radio host Kris Cruz that as a small business owner herself, she will continue to stand firm on her decision to support the pizzeria.
"My girlfriend and I are small business owners, and we think there is a difference between operating in a public market space and then attaching the name of your business to a private event," she explained on the "Jeff Adams Show." "Like, if we were asked to set up at an anti-gay marriage rally, I mean, we would have to decline."
She went on to clarify that the "horrible, hate-filled attacks" made against the O'Connors and their business did not reflect the feelings of the gay community.
"The gay community that we know knows full well what it's like to be condemned for doing nothing but living your life according to your beliefs," she added. "We know so many gay individuals that fully support the freedom of living your life according to your beliefs and feel that freedom extends to everyone, even the people that we don't agree with."
She added, "Maybe [someday] we can move beyond threats of violence and have open discussions of the things that we don't agree on."