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Indiana pizza shop at the center of 2015 RFRA controversy closes

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WALKERTON, Ind. – A northern Indiana pizza shop that found itself in the middle of the bitter debate over Indiana’s religious freedom law has closed.

According to the South Bend Tribune, the business put up a sign saying it shut down last month. Business owners confirmed the news to our media partners at the IndyStar.

Memories Pizza in Walkerton drew national attention in 2015 after the pizza shop’s owners said they would refuse to cater a gay wedding. As a result, the business’ Yelp and Facebook pages were bombarded with negative reviews.

The business owners cited religious beliefs as their reason for refusing to provide services for a gay or lesbian wedding. They said they would not deny service in the restaurant itself based on sexual orientation.

The business became a flashpoint in the debate over Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which then-Gov. Mike Pence signed into law. Critics worried that the law would allow discrimination.

The backlash from the comments was severe. The business had to temporarily close and police increased patrols around the pizza shop due to threats.

Memories Pizza also attracted its share of supporters. A GoFundMe page set up for the business raised more than $800,000.

As for RFRA, businesses sharply criticized state leaders for passing the law. Boycotts were threatened. Indiana lawmakers eventually passed a RFRA “fix” in April 2015 that provided additional protections to the LGBT community.