A sign in front of Memories Pizza, located in Walkerton, Indiana, indicated that the restaurant had shut its doors sometime last month, the South Bend Tribune reported Monday.
News of Memories Pizza’s closing comes three years after the eatery got caught in the national debate over LGBTQ rights and religious liberty. In spring 2015, owners Kevin and Crystal O’Connor spoke out in support of the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which allowed business owners to cite their faith as a legal defense for turning away customers.
Kevin O’Connor told local station ABC 57 that his restaurant would not cater same-sex weddings because of his religious beliefs.
“That lifestyle is something they choose. I choose to be heterosexual. They choose to be homosexual. Why should I be beat over the head to go along with something they choose?” he said at the time.
The story went viral, and the restaurant temporarily shuttered after “being flooded by threatening phone calls and social media postings.” It reopened just days later, following an online fundraiser that garnered more than $840,000 from supporters. (Check out a 2015 video report on the fundraiser above.)
Meanwhile, then-Gov. Mike Pence signed a revised version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, hoping to quiet criticism that the original law encouraged businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ people. The new version explicitly bars businesses from denying services on the basis of categories that include sexual orientation and gender identity, but discrimination against LGBTQ people is otherwise still legal in Indiana.
The closing of Memories Pizza appears to be unrelated to the 2015 controversy. Walkerton residents told the South Bend Tribune that the O’Connors just wanted to retire.