Good news! The country can come together on common sense principles and values. For the past couple of days, the battle in Indiana over the Religious Freedom Restoration Act has seemed to tear the country apart. But there are still people who understand decency and common sense in the world. Courtney Hoffman is a gay woman from Seattle. Why did she apologize to the owners of Memories Pizza all the way in Indiana? This is one of the best “strange bedfellows” stories of all time.
On the Memories Pizza GoFundMe page, 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.”
She shared more of her story on radio this morning with Glenn.
"After I heard about it, it just kind of sat with me. You know, just the behaviors towards this little pizzeria seemed appalling," she said.
Courtney was critical of the voices at the forefront of the gay community. She said that for the most part, people should have a 'live and let live' attitude and approach.
"What I feel has been most amazing to me has been the level of shock that people have expressed. I guess what they've been calling my tolerance. A lot of people I know believe that the gender of your significant other does not dictate your beliefs. That's just the gender of your significant other. But I know so many gay individuals who are Republican and Democrat and capitalist and socialists and Christians and atheists, and there's this whole wide view of mind-sets within a community. It's not just this one forefront that people see that seems to be made up of this bullying tactic," she said.
"I feel like there's been this kind of dialogue for a while that if someone disagrees with you or has a different opinion than you then therefore they must be malicious or filled with hate," she said. "Just change the dialogue on that front. Just because someone disagrees with my opinion, doesn't mean they're evil or that they're malicious in their intent. It just means that we differ in opinions. But we probably have so much more in common."
"The gay community has spent decades fighting for their right to just be themselves. All we ever wanted was the right to live our lives as we see fit according to our beliefs. And to turn on someone who, yeah, has very different beliefs than we have - but it's the same fundamental right to just live your right according to those beliefs. We should be defending that. If we don't agree with that, we should open a dialogue or just letting them live. You don't have to open a dialogue with them, but I'm not quite sure when or why, you know, the people who have fought for decades to live their life according to their beliefs have all of a sudden turned on those who are just doing the same," she said.
GLENN: You know, one of the stories that broke last week during this whole nightmare in Indiana, where you have these pizza owners being, I think, targeted -- intentionally targeted by a local television station looking to pick a fight. Because there's nobody that ever caters a wedding -- how many times have you gone --
PAT: That's like, I'm looking for the local Hostess shop to cater Twinkies at my wedding.
GLENN: Nobody does that. Well, actually someone on our staff did that.
PAT: Jeffy did that.
GLENN: But that's a different story. So Dana started a GoFundMe page for this really nice family that owns this pizza shop. They don't have hatred in their heart at all. And this is -- I mean, closing for a week, I know because I was a small business owner with my dad. That could put you out of business. It's just over for you.
So -- and that's what these people are trying to do. And when I say these people, I don't mean gay people. Because I think gay people aren't like this. I think it's the organizations. We all have, you know, organizations that, you know, will -- that maybe you belong to and you're like, okay, no, I don't agree with that. For instance, Stu is a vegan. But he doesn't agree with what PETA does. PETA is speaking for vegans. No, they're not speaking for him.
PAT: I'm a member of the National Association of Realtors, for example. I don't agree with everything they do.
GLENN: Exactly right. Boy, those guys piss me off.
PAT: Oh, man.
GLENN: Anyway, it's just people with agenda and want power and money. And they're separating us. And we're not that different. So one of the donations that really stuck out was from a gay woman who donated $20 to the Memories Pizza place in Walkerton, Indiana. We have her on the phone now. Her name is Courtney Hoffman. Hello, Courtney, how are you? Courtney.
COURTNEY: Yeah, can you hear me?
GLENN: Yes, I can. How are you?
COURTNEY: Good. How are you doing?
GLENN: Very good. So, Courtney, tell me a little about yourself. Do you know who we are? Did you listen to this show, or how did you find out about this GoFundMe?
COURTNEY: I do know who you are. I don't listen to the show. I'm not overly politically active.
COURTNEY: But I heard about it on, I think, a local radio show here. I think. I don't honestly remember how I heard about it.
COURTNEY: But after I heard about it, it just kind of sat with me. You know, just the behaviors towards this little pizzeria seemed appalling.
GLENN: Where are you from?
COURTNEY: I'm from Seattle.
GLENN: Okay. Wow, you're from Seattle. That's my hometown. And that is not -- that is not the place that would embrace your point of view.
COURTNEY: You know, I -- I kind of disagree with that.
GLENN: Oh, I'm glad to hear that.
COURTNEY: Yeah. I mean, I feel like we're kind of painted as this liberal city, but the individuals I know -- you know, it doesn't really have to do with conservative or liberal. It just has to do with, like, a human element. And, you know, the people that I know, gay or straight or liberal or conservative, are very just understanding and supportive of an individual's right to live their life as they see fit.
GLENN: So you're more Libertarian than anything else?
COURTNEY: I suppose, yeah.
GLENN: Good. Because that's where we are.
PAT: It's kind of like what you said yesterday, Glenn. When you said that people aren't intense about it on the other side. It's the media making it out like they are.
GLENN: It's the media. And it's those in power. Both left and right. That need us to argue with each other. I think the average person is like, look, I don't want to be around people who are hateful. I don't want people who are bigoted and racist et cetera, et cetera. But that happens. And, you know, those aren't part of my circle. And I don't know that many. And we have to change their hearts. You're never going to legislate morality. You'll never legislate hatred out. You just have to change people's heart. And the rest of us. The vast majority of Americans are cool with each other. Let's just be cool with each other.
STU: And, Courtney, what better way to change someone's heart than what you did. Instead of coming out here like many did and were angry about things, you came out to embrace people's right to be different. And you donated to a cause and I think you won a lot of people over to listen to you.
GLENN: You did.
COURTNEY: It's been amazing. What I feel has been most amazing to me has been the level of shock that people have expressed. You know, just I guess what they've been calling my tolerance. You know, because, you know, I believe in -- a lot of people I know believe that the gender of your significant other does not dictate your beliefs. You know, that's just the gender of your significant other. But I know so many gay individuals who are Republican and Democrat and capitalist and socialists and Christians and atheists, and there's this whole wide view of mind-sets within a community. It's not, you know, just this one forefront that people see that seems to be made up of this bullying tactic.
GLENN: So, Courtney, there's a 70-year-old woman in Washington state who runs a flower shop. And she was asked by a gay couple to -- so you know the story. Right?
COURTNEY: Yeah, yeah.
GLENN: They're now suing her not only for her business, but she's about to lose her house.
COURTNEY: It's heartbreaking.
GLENN: How can we -- how can people who are, you know, on the side of the small businessperson and may be against gay marriage, may not be against gay marriage. I'm fine with gay marriage. The government shouldn't have anything to do with my marriage, you know what I mean?
GLENN: But how do we get people to see and to change their hearts to say, this has nothing to do with hate. This has everything to do with embrace diversity and you can't force someone to violate their conscience.
COURTNEY: Yeah. Well, I feel like there's been this kind of dialogue for a while that if someone is -- disagrees with you or has a different opinion than you then therefore they must be malicious or filled with hate. And, you know, I think that would be a good place to start. Just change the dialogue on that front. Just because someone disagrees with my opinion, doesn't mean they're evil or that they're malicious in their intent. It just means that we differ in opinions. But we probably have so much more in common.
GLENN: We do.
STU: Like, for example, we shouldn't be having a conversation about a pizza place without eating pizza.
STU: I think we can come together on that.
GLENN: Let's eat pizza. What is your business, Courtney?
COURTNEY: My girlfriend and I own a small kettle corn stand.
GLENN: A small kettle corn stand?
STU: Where is the kettle corn? How do we not have your kettle corn here?
COURTNEY: I can definitely get some to you.
GLENN: Oh, that's a definite must. We'll pay for it. Do you sell it online?
COURTNEY: No, we don't. We sell it at, like, fairs and festivals.
GLENN: That's too bad because you would have sold a ton today. Well, that's great.
COURTNEY: Yeah, so we're pretty small.
GLENN: Courtney, we just wanted to thank you and just try to get your voice to be heard as a reasonable individual, that we are all different, but it's cool to be different.
COURTNEY: Yeah. It's okay that we're different. It doesn't mean that we're malicious or hate-filled.
GLENN: Can I ask you one more question?
GLENN: Pat is just --
STU: Needling you today. It's fun.
GLENN: When I was down at the Friends of Abe. Do you know what the Friends of Abe is? The people in Hollywood that happen to be conservative.
COURTNEY: No, I don't.
GLENN: Okay. They're Hollywood people that happen to be conservative, and they're in the closet. They're actually in the closet. And they're terrified of anybody finding out.
COURTNEY: Yeah. Yeah.
GLENN: And I was speaking to them one time and I said, you know, I don't understand because, you know, Hollywood has a lot of -- a lot of people in the gay community here in Hollywood. And Jews also, a lot of Jews in Hollywood. And you would think that those two groups, out of everybody, would know what it feels like to be afraid to say who you are.
GLENN: Why is this happening? What is happening to where they don't empathize with those who are now afraid to say who they are?
COURTNEY: You know, I -- I don't know. I feel like a similar movement has happened in the gay community. You know, the gay community has spent decades fighting for their right to just be themselves. You know, all we ever wanted was the right to live our lives as we see fit according to our beliefs and to turn on someone who, yeah, has very different beliefs than we have. But it's the same fundamental right to just live your right according to those beliefs. We should be defending that. If we don't agree with that, we should open a dialogue or just letting them live. You don't have to open a dialogue with them, but I'm not quite sure when or why, you know, the people who have fought for decades to live their life according to their beliefs have all of a sudden turned on those who are just doing the same. But it's --
STU: That's a great point though. You know, sometimes I'm tired of having dialogues. I just want to do my thing and go to sleep and eat some kettle corn.
GLENN: We don't have to go to Starbucks and have them write stuff on our coffee cup. Just please. Can't we just stand in line together and talk about nothing or not talk about nothing.
STU: That's why guys gravitate to sports because it's anything other than --
STU: -- the real world. You just want something to distract yourself. And that's okay too. Where is the kettle corn? Is it here yet?
COURTNEY: I'm working on it.
GLENN: Courtney, thank you so much. God bless you.
COURTNEY: Thank you so much. Have a good day.
PAT: She was great.
GLENN: I love her. I love her.
GLENN: She's -- and, you know what, that kind of person as a spokesperson for any community, oh, would win.
STU: Wins you over in a second.
GLENN: How will you argue with Courtney?
PAT: I'm personally not going to.
STU: We saw the same thing with different approaches from Ellen.
PAT: Remember the preachy Ellen.
STU: She's funny and likable. You just want to be around her.
PAT: Ellen would just completely reject --
GLENN: Preachy Ellen where she was, this is who I am. Blah, blah. Everybody knows who she is. And it's totally cool. Let's just laugh together. It's fine. It's fine. You don't to have jam it down our throats. Rub our nose in it.
PAT: That was the big announcement to announce that I'm running for president. The big announcement to announce that I'm gay. Everyone already knows.
STU: We're like so. Don't make your whole show about that.
GLENN: Because that says that's all you are. And that's not all she is.
STU: Right. You're more than that. And she's proven that 1,000 times over.