Leatherby’s Boycott Melts


Leatherby’s Boycott Melts–The Inside Scoop

Supporters line out the door in support of Family Ice Cream Parlor, delivering a humiliating defeat to protesters

Leatherby’s was targeted Sunday for protest by No on 8 supporters because owner Alan Leatherby, his business, and his relatives gave a total of $20,000 supporting the “Yes on 8” campaign.  Proposition 8 was a measure passed by California voters on Nov. 4 that put a ban on gay marriage in the state.

The inside scoop from the front lines on the Leatherby’s boycott is that Leatherby’s loyal supporters pummeled the opposition.  Standing in front of the store holding signs and giving away free ice cream, the dozen or so protesters were perplexed by the stream of constant customers.

“No on 8” supporter Rachel Gregg was undeterred.  “I think that providing people with information is never a bad thing to do,” she said, “Make an informed choice about where they are spending their money.”

Smiling and waving, families and couples walked past the protesters and straight into the store.   Offers of free ice cream went untaken.   As the evening wore on, the support continued to grow, spilling out of the creamery doors onto the sidewalk.   Leatherby’s managers had to call in extra help to serve all the supporters.

Dave Leatherby Jr. greeted the protesters and shook some of their hands. Leatherby said he doesn’t have any animosity or hatred toward anyone.

“Our vote was not a vote of hate. It wasn’t a vote against them,” Leatherby said. “It was a vote to support something that we though was good. I have no animosity toward anyone.”

At one point the wait for Leatherby’s famous icecream was an hour and a half, but supporters still streamed in.


“We’ve had people drive in from Auburn,” Leatherby said. “It’s nice to have friends, it really is.”

Monday, nearly two weeks after the election, and long after the demise of Scott Eckern and others like him through these boycott tactics, No on 8’s leadership finally came out against the tactics being deployed by it’s supporters against local businesses.

I find it personally amusing that this statement comes less than 24 hours after their humiliating defeat on the steps of one of Sacramento’s finest creameries.

–Beetle Blogger

Supporting articles:

‘No on 8’ Supporters Protest Ice Cream Parlor–KCRA 3

Gay leaders wary of boycotting Prop. 8’s supporters–SacBee

Day Late–Dollar Short–After 2 weeks of silence, No on 8 tries to reign in supporters–Beetle Blogger



  1. prop8discussion said,

    November 18, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    i love this story!

  2. lizziejane99 said,

    November 18, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    It’s like my husband always says, “The anti-boycott boycott is powerful and can actually work to the advantage of blacklisted businesses.” The “other side” is quick to forget that the vote passed with 52% in favor. Those people haven’t just disappeared. Way to come out of the woodwork, Yes on 8ers! Gotta love it when we can peacefully make a show of strength against vindictiveness.

  3. waltzinexile said,

    November 18, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    I’d be careful throwing the word vindictiveness around, especially when beetlebabee herself admits to being “personally amused….at their humiliating defeat.” Boycotts are a form of expression that, though retributive, are not necessarily spiteful.

  4. Delirious said,

    November 18, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    I’m so happy to hear this! I was thinking about going there myself, but never actually got around to googling it to see where it is.

    I have to say too that today I wrote an email to our Governor asking him why he hasn’t spoken out more on this issue. I asked, in particular, what he will say to our church if the threats of burning our temples are carried out. He was elected to support the voice of the people, but at present he is supporting the minority. I think personally that he is a card carrying democrat in Republican’s clothing.

  5. Californian said,

    November 18, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    My sister in LA tells me that church members are organizing trips to El Coyote to support that establishment. When she went, the server told them that people were traveling as far as Semi Valley to participate in the anti-boycott.

  6. Californian said,

    November 18, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    ~Simi Valley

  7. lizziejane99 said,

    November 18, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    Vindicatory: a synonym of retributory.


    You’re splitting hairs here. Boycotting is a strong-arm tactic, a form of intimidation, aimed at those who have given of their means to support a cause that protesters disagree with. It’s coercive. That’s made clear by the boycott participants’ reaction to an unforeseen counter-boycott, “the dozen or so protesters were perplexed by the stream of constant customers.” Their intentions had failed. Their plan wasn’t working.

    Boycott: To abstain from or act together in abstaining from using, buying, or dealing with as an expression of protest or disfavor OR AS A MEANS OF COERSION. (emphasis added)


    Now, all that said, don’t forget that there are others around this state whose businesses are being boycotted, and, knowing one such person personally, I happen to know first-hand that protesters ARE angry and vindictive. In this case I am familiar with, they make a habit of sending hate mail with threats, they write absurd and ludicrous opinions on business review websites, and they harass owners and contributors at their places of residence. That is not an innocent act of expression.

    So, all in all, I think…I opine…that vindictiveness is a word that fits right in with this conversation.

  8. beetlebabee said,

    November 18, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    That’s true, I personally know of a group from Ventura that went down last Saturday amid the “Day of Protest” to support Marjorie Christoffersen. They’d never been before, but they made a point to go.

    I’ve also heard wind of supporters from Utah traveling through that are making a stop there just to see the place. It’s famous.

  9. Christina said,

    November 18, 2008 at 8:05 pm

    All you wonderful people, thank you for your comments. I know some of the Leatherby family and they are a good, hardworking, dedicated family and have been in the area for a very long time. It was shocking to hear that they were being targeted…. they’re such nice people! (how could they not? They make the most delicious ice cream for living!) They have been there for the community over the years and I’m glad our community is showing that they are there for them now. Thank a no on 8 supporter today for the chance they are giving us all to ponder about where we really stand and for banding us all together.

  10. mommyspy said,

    November 18, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    vindictive or not… boycotts are a time tested means of being consistent with your values. I regularly boycott establishments that I feel do not represent my values. As a rule, I limit my personal boycotts to businesses that have a COMPANY policy that I disagree with. I think it is a little extreme to punish a company because of an employee’s private political opinions…. but free enterprise being what it is, go for it if you think that will allow you to sleep better at night. Sending threatening letters is wrong and should be followed up by law enforcement, no matter what political opinion is being expressed.

  11. mommyspy said,

    November 18, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    I also regularly “anti-boycott” businesses that I feel are being unfairly targeted. VOTE WITH YOUR DOLLARS.

  12. Woman on the Street said,

    November 18, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    Leatherby’s Family Creamery is in Sacramento, CA off Arden way. It’s a great place with fantastic food and decent prices. I really appreciate that they stood up and supported a cause that they believed in. I will go there and support their business more because of it. Thank You Leatherby’s!!!

  13. November 18, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    […] of Sanity in Sacramento Jump to Comments From KRCA via Beetle Blogger: Some supporters of “No on 8″ gave out free ice cream Sunday in protest of a Sacramento […]

  14. fnln said,

    November 18, 2008 at 9:15 pm

    You are free to support Leatherby’s and you should do so. However, others have a right to spend their money elsewhere and are doing so. Clearly the Leatherbys (yes, plural, not singular possessive) decided that voting against the equal rights of others was a good business decision and I am sure the family was not surprised that some people would be upset about it. Subsequently, the family must have also realized that many people would support its position as evidenced by the company’s increased business. That’s great if that business model works for that company.

  15. prop8discussion said,

    November 18, 2008 at 11:19 pm

    leatherbys has the best hot fudge on the planet earth. i keep wanting to buy it. up until now, i’ve been to lazy to actually drive over there. but now i’m going to.

  16. waltzinexile said,

    November 19, 2008 at 1:08 am


    I really should have figured that no way would we agree on the meanings of words.

  17. teeny said,

    November 19, 2008 at 4:22 am

    I just decided where I’m going to go, the next time I want an evening out.

    There is no ice cream (free or otherwise) that can come close to the experience given by the Alan’s Black and Tan.


  18. Mary Ane said,

    November 20, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    I like the kind with crunchies and swirlies. Lots of rocky little road.

  19. Mary Ane said,

    November 20, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    So do you think the boycotts are truly over? They seem to be going underground at least.

  20. Tom Dibble said,

    November 21, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    For what it’s worth, my family of 8 lives right down the road from a Leatherbys (the one on Arden is not the only Leatherbys location in town!). We’ve frequented there a few times, but will not be returning again.

    My kids enjoy ice cream, and while overpriced, Leatherby’s ice cream was a nice treat. This family, however, will be avoiding Leatherby’s LONG after the roadtrips from Simi Valley slow down.

    The “anti-blacklist” is great, but those 52% who voted for Prop 8 should remember that just about half the state voted against it. Feel free to spend your efforts propping up businesses who were “on your side” this time around, but realize that unless you are in for a war of contrition with your ice cream-buying dollars (and gas dollars to travel to Leatherbys), the long term outlook is not good for Leatherbys.

    While “anti-blacklists” are effective for a day or two, long-term boycotts over time have a far greater effect. It’s a lot easier for me to NOT go to Leatherbys than it is for my neighbor to make a special trip there AND spend his money on their (nice but expensive) ice cream.

    “Humiliating defeat” … quite the overstatement!

  21. beetlebabee said,

    November 21, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    A thank you from Marie Leatherby & her family…
    Dear Friends,
    There are no words to explain the feeling of gratitude that my family is feeling right now. The amount of support for us has been so enormous that we are reeling from it all. The restaurant has been packed with wonderful people and I myself have received hundreds of supporting e-mails and phone calls, as I’m sure the rest of my family has also. We will try to answer them individually, but if we miss anyone, forgive us. We are so overwhelmed with joy that we don’t know whether to laugh or cry. All we can say is thank-you, thank-you, thank-you. I think my brother Alan said it best as he was watching the lines forming outside of the restaurant yesterday. “Now I know how George Bailey must have felt in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’ ” God is so good.
    Yours in Christ,
    Marie Leatherby

  22. Darin W said,

    November 22, 2008 at 9:33 pm

    As for El Coyote in LA, the “anti boycott” — if anything significant — simply is not going to be able to keep it up. They are located smack dab in the middle of gay/hipster/liberal hollywood and after a few weeks people from outside the area will forget about this. Not the locals. Without saying that I support this, I predict they will go out of business.

  23. November 24, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    […] Let the voice of our actions, votes and dollars follow values for informed consumerism.  There are many who have stuck their necks out in support of marriage and who risk suffering for it.  Beyond just a one time action, speaking […]

  24. tami said,

    November 26, 2008 at 11:56 am

    I am still looking for this “humiliating defeat”. It seems that those protesting did what they came to do. Those people who were pouring into the shop clearly aren’t concerned or they support the stance that Leatherby’s took on prop.8.

    If people think it’s okay to vote against equal rights for others, then that speaks volumes for who they are.

    I could be wrong, but that $20K could have been put to use for much more urgent and important causes, say feeding the poor, helping homeless children find a home, funding programs to help struggling families survive…just to name a few.

    When I do visit Sacramento Leatherby’s will not be one of the places I spend my out of town dollars.

  25. Paul said,

    November 27, 2008 at 10:08 pm

    I won’t go to Leatherby’s anymore. I won’t spend gay$ to be used against me. Whether it hurts their business or not is irrelevant.

  26. Leslieh S. said,

    November 27, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    I recently went to Leatherby’s with my family, the place was not only packed, but there were people milling all around in the parkinglot and sidewalk. I’d never been there before, but after what happened with the boycott, I had to go. The waitresses and atmosphere were so friendly and the ice cream was great!

    Those who would march around with angry signs in front of a good business like this ought to have their heads examined. I’m glad to see it hasn’t hurt them.


  27. Mary Johnson said,

    February 27, 2009 at 12:42 am

    Leatherby’s comments speak for themselves!!!!

    Speaking with CNA on Wednesday, Leatherby explained his support for Proposition 8, saying he disagreed with characterizations of same-sex marriage as a civil rights issue.

    “I have men’s and women’s restrooms in my establishment. Is that discrimination? No. Why? Because men and women are different!

    “They’re equal in dignity but they’re different. A relationship between a man and a woman is different than a man and a man or a woman and a woman, hands down,” especially when children are considered.

    “Most of them associate me and my family with hateful, spiteful people that would drag homosexuals out into the street and beat them up.

    “It’s amazing. Because of the lies that are told about this, about how supporters are hateful, so many people have bought into that!”

    “A majority of Californians are not hateful people. It’s a lie to say that.

    “They don’t hate gay people, they support marriage.

    “You can’t hold those beliefs any longer unless you’re considered hateful?” Leatherby asked.

    “Is Mother Teresa a hateful person? She has the same beliefs I do.

    “One of the first houses she opened in San Francisco was an AIDS house for gay men. Some of the first people she reached out to were gay men,” Leatherby noted.

    Not all the interactions with critics have been negative.

    Leatherby recounted his meeting with a 70-year-old man who was critical of his support for Proposition 8.

    “After talking with him, I said I used to work at a certain house for gay men dying of AIDS.

    “He broke down in tears and said, ‘one of my partners died there’.”

    Leatherby offered to buy him lunch, where he learned that the man had grown up in a Catholic orphanage.

    “The man said ‘the Catholic church had done more for me than anyone else in my life.’

    “He said he had been abused before he entered the orphanage, and said he wouldn’t have been gay if he had had a strong man in his life.”

    He recounted how one man had told a television station he had voted for Proposition 8 after noticing the difference between the two sides and the different examples of their advocates.

  28. beetlebabee said,

    February 27, 2009 at 2:30 am

    Mary, thanks for the wonderful commentary on the Leatherby family. I enjoyed their place very much when I was in Sacramento last. They have great people there. When we told them we were up from L.A. just to see their famous place after the boycotts, the woman at the register ran me off a copy of an article that had been written on their story. It was a pleasure to be there in support of such good people.

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