Marjorie’s Story Finally Told

m kasahara

El Coyote Mexican Restaurant photo by M Kasahara

Marjorie’s Story Finally Told

The outrage continues at the treatment of private donors as the L.A. Times discovers some of the civilian casualties caused by their publicity of the prop 8 donor rolls.  It’s great that the L.A. Times is the newest Johnny-come-lately to a realization of the damage being done by their public listings.  Honest civilians in the war on marriage have been targeted all across California in a wave of New McCarthyism as gay activists take revenge for their political losses at the polls.

Private donations are an expression of free speech, and as a major force in print media, the L.A. Times should have presented that facet of the issue first and foremost.  Instead, the Times ignored that and looked the other way while gay activists went to war with the information provided by their Times’ own website.  The blogs and other so-called “Pajama Media” put the big dogs to shame on this one.

Considering the Times was one of the most vocal proponents of publicizing the donor rolls, this sympathetic interview is good, but for civilians like Scott Eckern and Marjorie Christoffersen who lost their jobs, it will never be enough.

—Beetle Blogger

A life thrown into turmoil by $100 donation for Prop. 8

Steve Lopez– L.A. Times,  Dec. 14, 2008

Margie Christoffersen didn’t make it very far into our conversation before she cracked.Chest heaving, tears streaming, she reached for her husband Wayne’s hand and then mine, squeezing as if she’d never let go.

“I’ve almost had a nervous breakdown. It’s been the worst thing that’s ever happened to me,” she sobbed as curious patrons at a Farmers Market coffee shop looked on, wondering what calamity had visited this poor woman who’s an honest 6 feet tall, with hair as blond as the sun.

Well, Christoffersen was a manager at El Coyote, the Beverly Boulevard landmark restaurant that’s always had throngs of customers waiting to get inside. Many of them were gay, and Christoffersen, a devout Mormon, donated $100 in support of Proposition 8, the successful November ballot initiative that banned gay marriage.

She never advertised her politics or religion in the restaurant, but last month her donation showed up on lists of “for” and “against” donors. And El Coyote became a target.

A boycott was organized on the Internet, with activists trashing El Coyote on restaurant review sites. Then came throngs of protesters, some of them shouting “shame on you” at customers. The police arrived in riot gear one night to quell the angry mob.

The mob left, but so did the customers.

Sections of the restaurant have been closed, a manager told me Friday during a very quiet lunch hour. Some of the 89 employees, many of them gay, have had their hours cut, and layoffs are looming. And Christoffersen, who has taken a voluntary leave of absence, is wondering whether she’ll ever again be able to work at the restaurant, which opened in 1931 (at 1st and La Brea) and is owned by her 92-year-old mother.

“It’s been so hard,” she said, breaking down again.

A lot of customers saw Christoffersen as the face of the restaurant. She was the hostess who roamed from table to table with a pitcher of water, refilling glasses and schmoozing with friends.

Christoffersen, raised Mormon by her late father, told me she has no problem with gay people.

“I love them like everybody else.”

I sat on the patio with Wayne and two other El Coyote managers — Arnoldo Archila and Bill Schoeppner — who happen to be gay.

“We always joked around with Margie,” said Schoeppner, who’s been on the job 26 years. “I’m a Democrat and voted for Obama; she probably voted for McCain — so what? If she were a bigot or a homophobe, you wouldn’t have had all these gay people” working at the restaurant or eating at it.

Besides, the donation was personal.

“She didn’t cut a check from the restaurant,” added Archila, a 28-year employee. “The restaurant didn’t have anything to do with it.”

Archila said he and other employees voted no on Prop. 8 and gave money to the legal challenge. As someone who came to the U.S. 30 years ago from El Salvador, Archila said, he’s always cherished this country’s right of free speech and the diversity of opinion.

“You can express yourself as a citizen,” said Archila. “Not everyone has to believe the same things.” Read the entire article here.

More:

Marjorie Christoffersen Resigns

L.A. Times Promotes Gay Vigilantism

El Coyote Targeted for $100 Donation

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32 Comments

  1. lsand said,

    December 15, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    Everyone in the LA area should go to El Coyote and have a Margarita (at least) and show these people some support.

  2. Steven S. said,

    December 15, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    Exactly. It’s not my normal stop, but our business had a lunch over there two weeks ago. We ought to go again. Vote with your wallet, it’s going to be a new mantra.

  3. Liberty Belle said,

    December 15, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    I think there’s a line to be drawn between a private donation and a corporate one. That this woman was targeted like this is just immoral. How awful to be out of a job right before the Holidays!

  4. chiwawa said,

    December 15, 2008 at 7:37 pm

    Lie lies lies. Do you care about the truth at all? There were no cops in riot gear at the El Coyote protest. Your photo proves that by showing a cop in a regular uniform. The protest was noisy, but peaceful. Some of us even talked to the manager. A few even “tipped” the waiters even though they decided not to eat that night. People brought cameras, so it’ll be easy to show that Steve Lopez is a liar who’s decided to embellish the truth in order to make Margie seem more sympathetic.

    Good luck with your counter-boycotts. The Mormons have already been doing that but business still dropped 30%. You do realize that if El Coyote becomes a regular hangout for conservative homophobes you’ll do lasting damage to its reputation, right?

  5. beetlebabee said,

    December 15, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    You can’t have it both ways, either you’re not eating there ever again, or you are. From the comments I’ve read, their reputation is already shot with the gay community, irreparably so! So….are you saying that’s not the case? Now, it’s reputation as the victim of ugly thugs is going to damage it? hm. Get the story straight.

  6. lsand said,

    December 15, 2008 at 11:11 pm

    There is so much wrong with what chiwawa says – I just don’t know where to begin. Well, just one question – Why do you label people who think that traditional marriage should not be redefined as “conservative homophobes?” If you are right, then I guess that Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and Elton John are “conservative homophobes.” ROTFL!

  7. urbzen said,

    December 16, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    Basically what Ms. Christoffersen is saying here is that gay Californians don’t deserve the right to marry, but they *do* deserve the right to spend money at her restaurant?

    No wonder she’s singing a different tune now that SHE’s the one who stands to lose something.

    Read more: Tacos, with a side of bigotry

  8. beetlebabee said,

    December 16, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    I think the point is that she is not singing a different tune. If she had renounced her moral conviction, there wouldn’t be a story.

    Every adult in California has the equal opportunity to marry already, you may not like the choices available to you, but that is your choice, and I support it. It’s not about rights urbzen. We all have the exact same rights.

  9. Maddog said,

    December 16, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    It is amazing to see how those who clamor so loudly for tolerance and acceptance are also the most intolerant! The gay backlash against those who voted for Prop 8 is sad. You can bet these same pro-same-sex marriage types will be howling and whining bloody murder if it were the other way around. What HYPOCRISY!

    The people of California voted, same-sex marriage LOST. Those who don’t like that should deal with it like mature, responsible citizens, not like Nazis. Perhaps they think they can impose a gay Taliban in California.

  10. December 16, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    Larry, thanks for the laugh.

  11. umakebabyjesuscry said,

    December 16, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    Oh, did Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and Elton John donate money to a campaign to eliminate the right to marry from a minority group? If they did, they would be conservative homophobes in my book.

    Homophobia= the fear of gay people and or their lifestyle. Can you honestly tell me, that not what all of you are? Your homophobia is transparent.

    It’s one thing if you think gay people are sick and going to “hell” in a hand basket, but quite another thing, if you actually vote to strip away a groups rights…..And if you start donating to an unconstitutional campaign….Then it’s a whole new level of war, albeit peaceful for the most part, thankfully.

    Maddog, I really don’t care if you accept or tolerate us, just don’t get in the way of our right to the same equality you have. “Gay Taliban” How positively macho. I love that.

    “not eating at a restaurant= nazism” Amen brotha, preach it! I’m so glad that we have level headed clear thinking going on here.

  12. beetlebabee said,

    December 16, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    for a nice little chat on the word “homophobia” check this: https://beetlebabee.wordpress.com/2008/12/03/ho%E2%8B%85mo%E2%8B%85phobe-n/

    Ever wonder where that ubiquitously nifty word that doubles as a spiked club actually came from? Scientists? Medical Doctors? English Majors? Nope. Activists! Convenient isn’t it?

  13. umakebabyjesuscry said,

    December 16, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    ———8<—-snip! moderator edit for inappropriate content

  14. beetlebabee said,

    December 16, 2008 at 11:11 pm

    So, you don’t believe in berating religions….then why the name?

  15. December 16, 2008 at 11:12 pm

    Couldn’t come up with anything better than UMakeBabyJesusCry?

    Before reading any of your words your tag proves the beetle lady’s point. The GLBT community is intolerant of anyone who disagrees with them. You are probably more intolerant than anyone on this forum.

    (The “U” instead of “You” is a cool touch.)

  16. ruby said,

    December 16, 2008 at 11:23 pm

    UMBJC–

    Can you scroll back up and look at your comments?

    Oh, did Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and Elton John donate money to a campaign to eliminate the right to marry from a minority group? If they did, they would be conservative homophobes in my book.

    Really? Explain your reasoning more.

    There is a difference between religion as a concept and the bastardization of it that Lopez references as “organized religion.”

    I’m sorry but I don’t understand your point. What is the difference according to you? How exactly does this support the point you are attempting to make.

    So, no I do not support simply berating other religions, in and of itself, but when it’s used by mere people to promote political agendas, against minority groups, then a critical look would certainly be warranted.

    This sentence lacks clarity (what does “it’s refer to?). It sounds like you are saying “when berating other religions is used by mere people to promote political agendas….”
    Isn’t that what you are doing? Berating other religions to promote your political agenda?

    A critical look at any of the religions who participated in the coalition supporting prop 8 only shows a concern for the health of society. Children do better in a home with a mom and a dad.

    No matter what you say about the mormons or any other religion, or elton john, or obama, or Bill Clinton, you can’t change this fact. Kids have a right to a mom and a dad. It’s not unconstitutional to encourage this situation. Nor is it homophobic.

    Homophobia has nothing to do with supporting traditional marriage.

  17. beetlebabee said,

    December 16, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    umakebabyjesuscry, this is totally hilarious! I just realized that you……. are a poser! Sean! You’re really Sean!

    Good grief, you had me going there. I was thinking, man, my readership has really gone downhill lately, but it’s just the same rabble, different package.

    Our good buddy Troy from blogspot wiped the floor with you over on your other discussion, no wonder you’re hanging out over here in disguise:
    https://beetlebabee.wordpress.com/2008/12/08/marjorie-christoffersen-resigns/

    No hard feelings friend, but please, don’t pose.

  18. beetlebabee said,

    December 17, 2008 at 2:34 am

    Please, Sean, don’t make me post your IP address….look, it’s not a secret, it’s right here. Every moderator sees who is posting by number. Your number is Sean’s number.

    Looks like Sean, Talks like Sean, Must be Sean……what else can I say?

  19. rubyeliot said,

    December 17, 2008 at 3:11 am

    As a wordpress blogger, usually the IP address doesn’t lie. But maybe you have a roommate?

    Thank you for your response. I really appreciate your sincerity (and your explained clarity). Thank you. I think your comments about Jesus Christ are really interesting. If you think Christ is the savior of the world, then he knows all temptation.

    I agree that Christ most definitely mourns the sad things that happen on this planet. I also think that there are things that make him quite happy (but I’m an optimist).

    He would most definitely exhibit delightful compassion and kindness and understanding and friendship to those with SSA (just as he offers his kindness to everyone). But he never endorsed homosexual behavior. In fact he most definitely says it is not okay. This is not only referenced by specific scriptures, but by the fact that his relationship with his church is always described in terms of heterosexual marriage. He is the bridegroom, the church is the bride.

  20. { Lisa } said,

    December 17, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    ROFL at Poser Sean…. how embarassing! Busted!

  21. James R. said,

    December 17, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    ha, that is a laugh. I assume he’s been banned for multiple personality disorder?

  22. JillJean said,

    December 18, 2008 at 12:00 am

    Maybe he believes in reincarnation….

  23. Maddog said,

    December 18, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    Umake… wrote: “Maddog, I really don’t care if you accept or tolerate us, just don’t get in the way of our right to the same equality you have. “Gay Taliban” How positively macho. I love that.”

    You already have the same rights. You want the PRIVILEGE to pervert marriage into anything that suits you.

    And now your supposedly “tolerant” group is going after supporters of Prop 8, terrorizing their customers and harassing them, holding protest rallies that require police! Wow. What a beautiful display of tolerance. Yeah…

    The “Gay Taliban” is a pretty accurate description of those types. You know, the ones with the same kind of tolerance for others that YOU have,.

  24. Todd said,

    December 19, 2008 at 11:51 pm

    Beetle,
    “Every adult in California has the equal opportunity to marry already, ..”

    You mean every adult in California has equal opportunity to marry the opposite-sex. What about people who are in same-sex relationships because they don’t have a heterosexual orientation? Why should their marriages not be recognized and their relationships denied the same rights and privileges as heterosexual marriages when their needs for them are just the same?

    “..you may not like the choices available to you, but that is your choice, and I support it.”

    If opposite-sex marriages are the only marriages recognized then there is no choice regarding marriage, since there are no other forms of marriage to choose from.

    “It’s not about rights urbzen. We all have the exact same rights.”

    Just like the laws banning interracial marriages, everyone had the same rights too. Blacks could marry blacks. Whites could marry whites. Everyone could marry, just who they could marry was restricted – sound familiar?

    Your argument here fails regarding the banning of same-sex marriages for the same reasons such an argument failed regarding the banning of interracial marriages.

  25. Todd said,

    December 20, 2008 at 12:00 am

    Maddog,
    “You want the PRIVILEGE to pervert marriage into anything that suits you.”

    Yeah so perverted! Just like we perverted marriage to include interracial couples. Or how we perverted the voting process and allowed women to vote. Or how we perverted equality when we included blacks and other minorities into it with whites!

    So disgusting isn’t it?!

  26. beetlebabee said,

    December 20, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    Todd, This issue is not about interracial marriage, racism, bigotry or anything of the sort. It’s about choices and morality. The choices you make are not all equal. Gay couples have the civil right to join in partnerships and have all the legal rights of marriages. Calling it marriage is the issue here. Nothing else.

    Calling it marriage has a lot of problems and associations that are unhealthy for society. Separate from my position on homosexuality itself, the whole “Rights” argument in California is moot because civil unions and partnerships (equal) are already equal in legal rights to marriage. Everything California has to give, it’s already given. There is no inequality.

  27. GlennInVenice said,

    December 23, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    A boycott is not intollerance or some hateful attack. It is just a decission to no longer go on financially supporting an institution.

    The article failed to mention how much El Coyote had come to thrive on the business of gay people.

    With the knowledge that the smiling hostess who we had come to know so well was part of the mob that had made it legal to withold equal rights for us, we could no longer go to what had been a favourtie watering hole. How could you? It was no longer a welcoming place.

  28. beetlebabee said,

    December 24, 2008 at 4:08 am

    Glenn, a boycott against a business for the businesses’ public policies is vastly different than a boycott against a business for an individual employee’s personal beliefs.

  29. rubyeliot said,

    December 24, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    with the knowledge that the smiling hostess who we had come to know so well was part of the mob that had made it legal to withold equal rights for us

    the only mobs i saw were outside “el coyote” and in the streets of LA and outside the mormon temple

    prop 8 supporters campaigned during the election. they even asked the opponents of prop 8 for a debate. prop 8 supporters calmly voted. there were no mobs.

  30. a. mcewen said,

    December 29, 2008 at 8:53 am

    Again, beetlebabe,

    you make El Coyote sound like a victim here but yet again you aid and abet and boycott against Campbell Soup. What’s the difference here?

  31. December 29, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    Campbell’s Soup is a company that chose in its advertisements to blatantly support the gay agenda. El Coyote restaurant spent no money on Prop 8, it was one of its employees making a PRIVATE donation. Also, Campbell’s spent millions of dollars vs. Ms. Christoffersen’s $100. We write respectful letters, you rant and rave in front of a restaurant – yelling at patrons. Quite different, wouldn’t you say?

  32. ruby said,

    December 29, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    Also, Beetlebabee is not proposing a boycott, neither is the AFA. They are encouraging people to write letters.


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