Vigilantes Strike El Coyote

El Coyote Employee Targeted for $100 Prop 8 Donation

An employee of El Coyote Restaurant, Marjorie Christoffersen, tried to defend and protect her job today.  Christoffersen, who is also a Mormon, was shocked to learn she was the most recent target of gay rights activists who are threatening to boycott her restaurant over her private donation to the Yes on 8 campaign.

In an attempt to placate the activists, Christoffersen offered a free lunch at the restaurant to provide a friendly atmosphere in which to talk over differences and smooth rifts.

Next Stop?  El Coyote

Gay Rights Vigilantes: Next Stop? El Coyote

“I have been sick at heart that anyone has been offended by me. I have family, friends, employees from the gay community who are treasured people in my life. I have been a member of the Mormon church all my life. I responded to their request with my personal donation.

For years the El Coyote has financially and generously supported the gay community and its charities.

Please be my guest for an early lunch Wed., Nov. 12th, @ 11:00 am and allow me to personally speak with you.”

From Beetlebabee–The following account is from the Huffington Post, a blog that is dedicating it’s pages to furthering these targeted attacks on supporters of proposition 8:

Free Lunch Turns to Anti Religious Protest and Extortion Disaster

About 70 people gathered at the legendary El Coyote Cafe in Los Angeles’ Fairfax District Wednesday morning for a community sit down/brunch to hear Marjorie Christoffersen speak about why she gave $100 to Yes on 8 via the Mormon Church. Marjorie, a lifelong Mormon, is the niece of El Coyote’s founder and daughter of the current owner. She receives a salary as a floor manager. El Coyote has 89 employees, many of whom are gay.

Despite the staff delivering chips, salsa and drinks to the waiting guests, tensions were high when Arnaldo Archila, a long time manager and bartender, spoke about Ms. Christofferson and her views:

We don’t share her views as the management. They don’t press us to do anything that we don’t want to do, and we never talk about politics or religion. I don’t understand why we got connected to something going on at the top.

Well, El Coyote is involved because 10% of what Marjorie makes from El Coyote goes to the Mormon Church as required tithe, and that $100 she gave to Yes on 8 was in part money paid by gay clientele–and her income was used to strip their rights.And that’s why there’s protest called for 7pm tonight.

Then Marjorie herself spoke, shaking and barely able to stand, literally supported by her daughters who helped hold her upright as she read from a prepared statement. And it was sickening and saddening to see how her faith had leveraged her salvation and forced her to disconnect her love for her customers, and allowed her, despite that professed love, to deny them a civil right:

I am sick at heart that I have offended anyone in the gay community…you are treasured to me…I’ve been a member of the Mormon Church all my life and I responded to their request. This was a personal donation, not the El Coyote’s. In like fashion, any employee can support anything of its choosing…The restaurant does not support any political group…I don’t know of another place on earth where such diversity exists in harmony, joy and mutual respect. I know boycotts are planned…It saddens me that my faith will keep you away from the Coyote. I cannot and I will not, no matter what, change my love and respect for you and your views.

For video footage of Marjorie’s statement, and the attendees’ responses, click here Marjorie took only one question, asked by Sam Page, an ex-Mormon: Would she personally make an equal donation to the campaigns to repeal Proposition 8? Before Marjorie could answer, manager Billy Scheoppner announced that El Coyote would make two $5,000 contributions, one to the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center and other to the Lambda Legal Defense Fund. Schoeppner, who is openly gay, asked for suggestions to avert a boycott.

Page persevered, asking his question again, and Marjorie replied:

I cannot change a lifetime of faith.

Then one of her daughters added:  It’s her personal choice…she loves you guys and she loves this place…The church does not tell you how to vote, they did not say you must vote on Prop 8. They supported and donated to the Yes on 8 situation, campaign.

Watch the Intolerance and Intimidation of this Lady As it Happened

A protest planned for outside El Coyote will happen tomorrow evening.

44 Comments

  1. Scott M. said,

    November 13, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    Seems like some folks need to be reminded:
    Give them an inch, and they’ll take a mile.

  2. beetlebabee said,

    November 13, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    These are the people we heard before the election say they would never use discrimination laws to come after people with differing viewpoints. This is nothing short of vigilante, mob thuggery.

    Thugs mug old ladies for pocket change, not good neighbors. If the Gay community wants to have friends in the religious community, they would do well to behave with true kindness and tolerance for other’s beliefs.

    Send the Coyote a supportive message: elcoyotecafe@hotmail.com

  3. Woman on the Street said,

    November 13, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    El Coyote — what were you thinking? Discriminating against someone because of political beliefs? Nice job… I hope you feel good inside about taking the low road. This is just rediculous, the gay community isn’t making any new friends with all this hate.

  4. FunMe said,

    November 13, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    The woman, who is the daughter of the 90 year old owner, voted to TAKE AWAY something gays/lesbians have: marriage equality.

    Difference of opinion is one thing.
    Contributing $ to the H8 proposition is another.

    That woman basically is telling you what she thinks of her gay clientele: that they are 2nd class citizens.

    Voting for Hate has consequences as she is now discovering.
    The damage is done and El Coyote OWNER deserves everything she is getting.

    No More Mr Nice Gay when people vote to discriminate against gays/lesbians.

  5. beetlebabee said,

    November 13, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    Would you feel the same if she’d been targeted for her private beliefs that were pro-gay?

  6. mommyspy said,

    November 13, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    Shame on you for harrassing a nice family business. Its hard enough to run a business these days without being BULLIED for something that is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. Go Marjorie. Vote the way you like.

  7. beetlebabee said,

    November 13, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    It is especially creepy how anti-religion these thugs are. They were basically asking her to renounce her faith for money.

  8. busywithconviction said,

    November 13, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    I am so sadden to see the hate that people are showing. Regardless of which side you sit on whether you contributed your time and money to either side, no one should be treated like this. I don’t doubt that the gay/lesbian community is hurt. But saying that you are in favor of preserving tradition marriage does NOT say you think gays are second class citizens. Or that you don’t like lesbians. It says you value what traditional marriage stands for and want to preserve that. You see the plethora of consequences that comes from legalizing same same marriage and you don’t like it.

    Why can’t we all be nice to each other?

  9. MommyCatz said,

    November 13, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    FunMe,

    You are ridiculous. Are you going to go after all the little old ladies who voted for prop 8? Despicable.

  10. beetlebabee said,

    November 13, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    Tipping Our Hats to Margorie–
    elcoyotecafe@hotmail.com
    Margorie,

    I’m so sorry you guys are having to deal with these boycotts. This is no more than vile thuggery. To mug a respectable small business over a petty $100 donation of private funds is unconscionable. I have put this story up on my website and you have the support of 9/10 of my daily readers. I wish I could do more. Keep up the courage Margorie! You have earned our respect.

    Beetle Blogger

  11. MommyCatz said,

    November 13, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    Mrs. Chrisoffersen,

    I wanted to send you this note of support. The people who have gone after you this way are just looking for a fight, and someone to blame. Shame on them for not upholding your right to do what you will with your own time & money. I’m so sorry you have to deal with these childish boycotts. Keep up the courage Margorie! Hold to your Faith! Don’t despair. Be proud that you stood your ground, and stood for what is right. 52% of California supports you!

    Respectfully yours,
    MommyCatz

  12. teeny said,

    November 13, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    Don’t you get it? This is all part of their master plan to turn California into a state of sunshine and rainbows and love and acceptance for all.

  13. FunMe said,

    November 13, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    Mommy Dearest:

    How would you like it if you woke up the next day after Election Day and the mob voters said marriage is only between a man and a woman and that your marriage is no longer valid?

    Will you just “get over it”? Would you continue to give your hard earned money to a business owner that basically tells you that your marriage SUCKS according to her.

    Marriage equality DOES NOT hurt a straight marriage.

    What you guys should be doing instead of putting out your H8 is working on your marriages and reducing the high divorce rate.

    Oh and stop having affairs!

  14. Bronson Page said,

    November 13, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    Your overblown “Free Lunch Turns to Anti Religious Protest and Extortion Disaster” headline is a perfect example of the kind of sensationalism conservatives have been using to create a blaze of fear about this issue. If you or your readers would read the account of what was actually said, and what actually went on, without prejudice, you’d see what really happened. You’d also see that nobody’s religion was attacked; what is being attacked is the improper use of religion to rewrite civil rights. Likewise there was no extortion. You’re in way over your head, here, dear. And if you’re such a good Christian, where’s your adherence to the golden rule in all of this, and who started the namecalling? You did. Calling people “thugs”. Really? Thugs for asking for equal rights? I suppose women were thugs when they were burning their bras, and Rosa Parks, a thug too I suppose. I have yet to hear a single sensible conservative look at this as the civil rights issue that it is.

    We have a right of equal protection in this country, which protects Marjorie Christofferson as well as it does gays and lesbians, and a simple majority vote of the people is not enough to take that right away – especially when the purpose of equal protection is to shield minorities.

    Please, save your ill-informed, bombastic vitriol. It’s simply not helpful.

  15. beetlebabee said,

    November 13, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    You honestly believe this was a measured response to a private citizen’s hundred dollar donation to a cause she believes in? I just watched the video of it, did you? Did you see them pressure her to go against her religious beliefs in order to stay the boycott? Did you see the room explode in fury and insults when she refused to donate to the opposition against her personal beliefs??

    This woman owes no one a dime, yet these thugs, yes I’ll use the word because I can think of none stronger, lord over her as if she owes them some kind of explanation for her personal views.

    Her business just invited them to not only lunch, but they also donated 10,000.00 to their causes in order to pacify them, but THAT was not enough. Extortion is the strongest word I could think of. If you can think of a stronger one longer than four letters, I’d gladly employ it.

    Honestly, if you can’t see the problem, that is the problem.

  16. MommyCatz said,

    November 13, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    MOB voters? Who is it again, milling around outside churches & temples & businesses, inciting riots, Painting Graffiti, vandalizing, screaming into cameras with ugly twisted faces, and beating up little old ladies? That would be the gay activists. Which you appear to be part of. Your claims are Hypocritical, rude, and abusive. Not to mention ignorant.

    No one took any rights from you or your gay friends. In California, Homosexuals have ALL the rights and privileges of a Marriage. And don’t start going on about federal rights. P8 has nothing to do with that. This is not about you being married, this is about venting your rage, having your tantrums and targeting the easy targets. No one cares that you’re gay. Despite what you think, It doesn’t bother me that you are gay. I’m not saying ‘you can’t be gay’. What I do care about, is when you try to cram your lifestyle into my children’s textbooks, and into our schools. I do care when you try to empty the word ‘Marriage’ of any meaning. Calm down, quit ranting, and behave like an ethical citizen and respect the freedom of speech and fundamental rights we, as citizens of this country have and will not give up to you or any one else.

    and stop beating up on little old ladies.

  17. Elenium said,

    November 13, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    Wow, talk about a bunch of hypocrites…all this talk of equality and no discrimination and this is how they treat someone of a differing opinion? I don’t understand why a civil partnership doesn’t satisfy these people. Different definitions for different things. Marriage has always been between a man and a woman. Why change it when a civil partnership provides the same rights?

  18. beetlebabee said,

    November 13, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    Woah Catz, way to say it. If this is any kind of representation of the gay community, they need to seriously grow up. Nobody owes you anything.

  19. Bronson Page said,

    November 13, 2008 at 7:25 pm

    @ beetlebabee: If I ask you a simple question, am I pressuring you? Even if I ask it twice? The decision to contribute to the funds was made before the meeting, and simply announced there. ignorance is the problem, and I’m afraid you’re wallowing in it.

    @ mommycatz: do you teach your 150 cats about civil rights?

  20. Bronson Page said,

    November 13, 2008 at 7:31 pm

    BTW, a single person attacked the woman in Palm Springs. That person doesn’t represent all gay people any more than they represent all people, period. Nice try though.

  21. beetlebabee said,

    November 13, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    Bronson, I wonder that in your world people cannot have personal opinions. If I were to take my mob and harass a little old lady who happened to be a lesbian, I sincerely doubt you would be saying these types of things. What’s the score now? Big Bad Gay Activists 2……Little old ladies 0

    Now that’s the difference here isn’t it?

  22. Bronson Page said,

    November 13, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    Beetle, with all due respect, you don’t know me, and I mean that in the kindest way. I have a very fair and moderate viewpoint on this Coyote issue. In fact, I plan on eating there either tonight or tomorrow, and telling Marjorie that I appreciate her gestures, respect her integrity, and that she has my business. I don’t resent her, but I do resent your incessant name calling and characterization of me, and my community, so ignorantly and with so little compassion or even dimensionality. It’s not helpful. None of us is as flat and simple as you’d like to believe. We’re human beings, and American citizens, who aren’t fighting any more fiercely for our civil rights than you might, if yours were threatened or revoked. When you use phrases like “Big Bad Gay Activists” you drag your argument into the gutter, and I’m just not going to go there with you.

  23. beetlebabee said,

    November 13, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    Let me tell you a little advertising hint: You are who you look like. This is the face of the gay rights community right now, if you don’t like it, it is your responsibility to change it. People are fair minded. If the gay community acted fairly we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

    As for me? I’m doing my part at promoting kindness and unity, I haven’t used a single epithet, haven’t called a single name, haven’t done anything but promote kindness and unity…….however, I will not stand by idly while little old ladies are harassed.

    You shouldn’t either.

  24. Bronson Page said,

    November 13, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    Care for another cup of Kool-Aid, Beetle? Maybe you’d like to stir the next pitcher.

  25. Bronson Page said,

    November 13, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    Thanks for the time. It’s been real.

  26. Virginia said,

    November 13, 2008 at 8:26 pm

    I think the term we’re looking for in connection with this incident is “protection money.”

  27. Will said,

    November 13, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    This is so sad. I understand gay marriage proponents are frustrated having witnessed the political system deny them what they want, but this kind of coercion and intimidation is bad for everyone.

  28. MommyCatz said,

    November 13, 2008 at 9:28 pm

    I don’t see homosexuality as something to be loved and embraced – homosexuals yes, not homosexuality. I will teach my children to love and respect all people – that does not mean we will love or even endorse these, or any actions that I believe go against my beliefs & convictions. That is the same to be said with so many of the things people do that I don’t agree with – alchohol, smoking, pornography etc… Is it not possible for me to love, embrace and enjoy people regardless of their sexual persuasion? I do and I will teach my kids the same. Just as I hope to be loved, embraced and enjoyed for who I am – even if you don’t agree with my beliefs. – let’s not demean or trivialize one another.

  29. Scott M. said,

    November 13, 2008 at 10:00 pm

    Too bad – I’m not that far away from El Coyote, but I’ve never eaten there, so I can’t stop going there. Those of us who want to defend marriage should stay away.

  30. Bethany said,

    November 14, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    Ay Ay Ay! Beetlebaby, it amazes me the things people say back to you. And your continued courage on this issue amazes and inspires me too. Since when are people not free to donate their own, personal, hard earned money to whatever cause they want? I’d be willing to bet that almost every major business in California had at least one employee who donated to the Yes on 8 campaign – boycotting them does no one any good. Especially not the gay employees or employees who may have voted against Prop 8. This woman exercised her right to get involved in a political process. All citizens are given that right, and they shouldn’t be afraid to exercise it. It seems like all this is about intimidating people into not voting next time this issue comes up – and that’s just wrong. If you can’t win what you want fair and square, you can’t then turn to intmidation, harrassment, and fear tactics to oppress your opponents. This is America, for goodness’ sake! We’re supposed to be a FREE COUNTRY!

  31. Pam said,

    November 14, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    Love your blog. Thanks for putting the truth out there.

    I think that it is shameful how the gay community is handling this whole situation. Can you imagine if Prop 8 had lost and then the Prop 8 supporters acted in the same manner? They never truly had the marriage rights. The California judges overlooked the will of the people (Prop 22) and gave SSM rights when they shouldn’t have. If they want to blame someone, blame the judges for making an inappropriate decision earlier this year.

    It makes me sick that people are boycotting businesses because of religious beliefs. I would never boycott a restaurant, theatre, business, etc. because someone had different political or moral views than my own. I wish I lived closer because I would eat at El Coyote every week to show support.

  32. James said,

    November 14, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    I’m sorry, I don’t see how this person was abused. How civil would you be if someone donated money to have your marriage license revoked? I doubt many straight people would be willing to even sit in the same room. If this is the best you can come up with for abuse, you have no idea what abuse really is.

  33. November 14, 2008 at 8:50 pm

    [...] Vigilantes Strike El Coyote: make sure you watch the video [...]

  34. November 14, 2008 at 11:55 pm

    [...] Then we heard about Marjorie Christoffersen of El Coyote Mexican Restaurant in L.A…….she… [...]

  35. Corby said,

    November 15, 2008 at 2:22 am

    No one is saying she can’t be involved with her religion. No one is saying she can’t have an opinion. No one is saying she can’t VOICE her opinion.

    But when she gives money to do actual harm to other people, to revoke a right, to destroy families, to make someone a second-class citizen – she deserves what she gets.

    Free speech just means the government can’t censor you except under certain circumstances. It doesn’t mean you can say whatever you like without retaliation. Get over yourselves – try losing one of your civil rights and see how well YOU take it.

  36. amy said,

    November 15, 2008 at 3:36 am

    That should never have happened. I can’t believe those people had the nerve to intimidate and pressure her to go against what she believes in. Downright cruel.

    They have their civil rights to civil unions. I don’t understand why the gay community feels the need to force everyone to accept their lifestyle. If prop 8 had failed I would never have boycotted businesses owned by gays. If the government told me today that I was no longer recognized as married to my husband, I’d be sad, but it wouldn’t change the way I lived and I certainly wouldn’t take out my feelings on others.

  37. beetlebabee said,

    November 15, 2008 at 3:39 am

    The thing is, it’s just a word without the religious significance. If they took the word “married” away and gave it to the gays, we would pick another name and they’d still be unhappy because what they want is not embodied in the word.

    Marjorie said, “I cannot change a lifetime of faith.” and then the room erupted in anger. They weren’t interested in the word. They were interested in her leaving her faith.

    “And therein lies the problem: Here is a restaurant, seeped in Los Angeles history with a huge gay clientele, that employs 89 staff many of whom are gay, all of whom (except Marjorie) are gay friendly–and that has a manager who is part of the owner’s family, who tithes to an anti-gay church and donated, at her church’s behest, to eliminate a civil right from the very people who she says she loves–people who help provide her with an income.

    If Marjorie loves El Coyote as much as she says, she needs bid farewell to her job. And maybe the condescending idea of how you can “love” someone and be their “friend” yet feel they are not worthy of equal rights needs be tossed off the back of the bus.

    At the end of the meeting, no one felt like eating, despite the offer of a free meal–Marjorie’s views had left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.”

    This account from here: http://campaignsilo.firedoglake.com/2008/11/13/el-coyote-boycott-mormon-managers-explanation-makes-it-worse/

  38. Corby said,

    November 15, 2008 at 3:52 am

    Beetle, “they” want to be able to do the same thing the hets do. Marry the person they love. Til you see that you’ll just be filling the air with bigotry and ignorance.

  39. beetlebabee said,

    November 15, 2008 at 3:56 am

    What’s the difference between marrying and joining in civil union if not the moral implications?

  40. November 15, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    This sooooo crosses the line! It was a mere $100 – a drop in the bucket, compared to how much some people donated on both sides. To boycott a business that is not even hers is just wrong – and furthermore, the HuffPo article throws in there that 10 percent of her livelihood goes to her church. Again, that is HER CHOICE and no one’s business, and the church itself did not donate funds to Yes on 8 (except to cover travel expenses), so it’s not like her tithing money went to fight gay marriage.

  41. California Crusader said,

    November 17, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    I loved Diana West’s coverage of the meeting between Christofferson and the No on 8 protesters! Check it out here: http://www.dianawest.net/Home/tabid/36/EntryID/578/Default.aspx

  42. December 8, 2008 at 11:21 pm

    [...] Many of my readers may remember Marjorie Christoffersen, the woman who was targeted by gay marriage activists for her $100 dollar donation.  Marjorie resigned from her position at the El Coyote Restaurant rather than bow to pressure from gay activists to renounce her faith and belief.  See part one of Marjorie’s ordeal here:  Gay Rights Vigilantes Strike El Coyote. [...]

  43. ZZMike said,

    December 14, 2008 at 3:03 am

    Those “protestors” are every bit as evil as the thugs who swept Hitler into power in the 1930s.

    And it shows why we must fight their agenda every day, with all our might.

  44. Jackie said,

    December 14, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    Thanks, Angela, for keeping us updated on Marjorie & El Coyote. We need to support all people & businesses that suffer from Gay “Un-Rights”


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