Fundraiser, LGBT — April 7, 2015 at 12:28 pm

Michigan couple seeks to prove that pizza lovers support marriage equality – not bigotry – with GoFundMe campaign


When the owner of Memories Pizza in Indiana recently told reporters that she would refuse to bake pies for wedding receptions if the couple were gay or lesbian, the story went viral. Lawrence Billy Jones III set up a GoFundMe page to “relieve the financial loss endured by the proprietors’ stand for faith” and he encouraged supporters of the homophobic pizza makers to “go ‘like’ and combat the leftist hatred expressed on Dana’s [Facebook] page.”

The response was overwhelming raising, as of today, $842,442. Memories Pizza has closed up shop and the proprietors have been suitably rewarded for their bigotry.

In response to this, Lori Pimlott-Calvin and her wife Jill Calvin of Royal Oak (pictured here with Lori on the right, Jill on the left) created their own GoFundMe page called “Pizza lovers for marriage equality!”

Although their fundraiser is just getting started, they have already raised almost $1,400. All of the proceeds will go to support National Marriage Challenge and the legal team fighting for marriage equality in the U.S. Supreme Court this month and beyond.

On their GoFundMe page, they write:

The backbone of Michigan’s same sex marriage case going to the Supreme Court this month. If a pizza joint in Indiana can make almost a million dollars supported by private anonymous corporations trying to fool us in to thinking the majority of US citizens are against gay marriage let’s show the country that the majority of this country DOES support Marriage Equality. It was very clear they do after what happened with the religious freedom act in Indiana. Many national corporations standing up in support of same sex marriage. This month the Supreme Court will hear cases that will ultimately decide if denying same sex couples the right to marry is unconstitional.

At the forefront of that is DeBoer v. Snyder. April and Jayne are a lesbian couple who between them have four adopted children. Because they can’t marry they both cannot adopt them together. This is just wrong. There are thousands and thousands of children in foster wanting to be adopted and to have two loving parents. Jayne and April have four children that were saved from a life in foster care. This is a loving home! This is a loving family! Please help contribute to their legal battle by making a donation. ALL of the funds will go to the National Marriage Challenge.

I spoke with Lori and asked her what motivated to take this fundraising effort on. “We were inspired by all the love and support that was shown to the LGBTQ community when Indiana’s governor decided to sign the RFRA on his own and with all of the backlash and support of those who disagreed with him vehemently,” she said. “Then, when the pizza parlor GoFundMe page came out and made almost a million dollars, I thought, ‘Why can’t we do something like this for Jayne and April?’ We all owe them so much. Their sacrifice has been enormous through all of this.”

I also spoke with Dana Nessel, the attorney who has been representing Jayne and April as their case has made its way through the lower courts. I asked her why this fundraiser is so important. “It’s grassroots supporters like Lori and Jill and the small but very important contributions of the kind and generous people who support this campaign that has allowed the DeBoer case to move forward,” Dana told me. “If not for people like them, we never would have had the ability to file this matter or try the case, let alone support litigation all the way to the United States Supreme Court. The DeBoer-Rowse family and their legal team owe a huge debt of gratitude to Lori, Jill, and all our wonderful allies and supporters.”

It would be sad, tragic really, if the homophobes of America were able to raise such an insane amount of money for a pizza-making bigot and those who support marriage equality weren’t able to match their effort on behalf of marriage equality and same-sex couples across America.

If you’d like to help out, you can make a donation HERE.

Oh, one more thing. Lori and Jill celebrated their one-year anniversary last month, part of a group of just over 300 same-sex Michigan couples who were married during a 1-day window last spring. You can see them in this photo Anne took on March 22, 2014. Lori is in a blue jacket and Jill in a pink one:

You can see other photos from that day HERE.

[Lori and Jill photo credit: Steve Rybicki, used with permission.]