SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Score one for tolerance, and a big zero for bigotry.
A Southern California gay woman taught a lesson in tolerance to progressives and conservatives alike when she donated $20 to the GoFundMe page for the Indiana Pizzeria that won’t cater same-sex marriages.
On her donation to Memories Pizza, Courtney Hoffman wrote:
“As a member of the gay community, I would like to apologize for the mean spirited attacks on you and your business. 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.”
The pizzeria became a lightning rod in the fight over the Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act that made it lawful for anti-LGBT businesses to discriminate against gays. Owner Crystal O’Connor told a local TV station her family wouldn’t cater a same sex marriage. Her remarks set off so many online threats, she said she was forced to close shop.
That prompted conservative commentator Lawrence B. Jones III to set up a crowdfunding page on GoFundMe. Jones is a regular contributor to The Dana Show that airs on Glen Beck’s news network, The Blaze. In a matter of days, he raised almost $850,000 — twenty of which came from Hoffman.
A producer for conservative radio show ‘The Jeff Adams Show’ noticed Hoffman’s donation and tracked her down via her Facebook page to ask her why she did it. She agreed to a radio interview and explained that she and her girlfriend operate a small kettle corn stand, and if they were asked to set up at an anti-gay marriage rally, they would have to decline. She said the hate-filled response to the pizzeria’s stance did not represent the gay community she knows — one that actually encourages people to live their lives according to one’s beliefs.
“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.”
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Hoffman stressed the need for tolerance saying, “If we can remember that differences don’t equal maliciousness, and try to find what we have in common — you know, the ands instead of the ors, maybe we can move beyond threats of violence and have open discussions of the things that we don’t agree on.”
Not everyone supported Hoffman’s actions, but since her donation, more gays have given money to the pizzeria, and she has earned the praise of many of the conservative talk show’s following. Here is a sampling of the reactions on Twitter:
#CourtneyHoffman My partner & I are so proud of you, Courtney! Angry progressive fascism is not the answer. People have the right to faith
— Danielle (@Danielle_Wedge) April 7, 2015
— Dave Austin (@dave_austin) April 4, 2015
— NunyaBidness(@bennd77) April 2, 2015