Turmoil for a $100 donation for Prop. 8?

Is this the way? (Photo by Lori Shepler)
Is this the way? (Photo by Lori Shepler)

We’ve been collecting notes, stories, and press reports about the ongoing saga of California’s Propostition 8 and more particular, Margie Christofferson, the manager of a renowned eatery called El Coyote in Los Angeles.

Margie Christoffersen didn’t make it very far into telling her side of the story before she cracked. Chest heaving, tears streaming, she reached for her husband Wayne’s hand 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 Farmer’s Market coffee shop looked on, wondering what calamity had visited this poor woman who’s an immaculate 6 feet tall, with hair as golden as the sun.

Well, Christoffersen was a manager at El Coyote, the Beverly Boulevard landmark restaurant that’s always had hordes 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.

It is right here, ladies and gentlemen, where the editorial staff at American Age begins to query what appears to be some rather sunken behavior. In just about every protest photograph we’ve seen alludes to “Hate, No on H8!” Furthermore, in the decency of life, one should be able to donate to who or to whatever they so desire. Therefore this automatically led to some additional questions.

How on earth did protester’s acquire the information regarding who donated what and to whom? In addition, what’s up with protesting her business at the El Coyote?

It appears that the donor’s list was made available. A boycott was organized on the Internet, with activists trashing El Coyote on restaurant review sites. Then like goose-stepping Nazi protesters, some of them shouting “shame on you” at customers whilst others held makeshift menu signs. The police arrived in full-riot gear one Thursday night to quell the angry mob.Excuse me…but is this what the U.S. Constitution means by peaceably assembling?

Sections of the restaurant have been closed, as well as 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.

Margie tried to smooth things over last month (can you believe this?) by inviting gay clients to a free lunch to talk it over, but she left in tears when asked if she would write a check to the group challenging Prop. 8. This is a tough way to find out how alleged sensitivities, right’s talk, and ‘civility’ are so disguised by those who promote their own agenda’s.

Anyone who endorses ‘gay or same-sex marriage’ is illuminating how radically stupid some folks can be.  Marriage involves a man and a woman, period. It is an oxymoron to put ‘same-sex’ in the same sentence with marriage. American Age believes that tolerance is the cornerstone and very fabric that has made America different than all other countries on earth. We ask, “Where is the tolerance in destroying another’s life and for what?”   




Hat-tip to Steve Lopez at the L.A. Times: More on the story click here.    






19 Responses

  1. […] In Los Angeles, would-be patrons of a popular Tex-Mex restaurant were greeted by furious protestors like John Dennison. “El Coyote – millions in gay margarita money funding hatred,” Dennison yelled during the protest. “Boycott El Coyote!” (Original story here.) […]

  2. “Seems to us that Mrs. Christofferson came bearing gifts and the proverbial ‘peace pipe’ with her gesture of “let’s have a meet, lunch is on me, let’s talk…” Now reason here with us…”

    Oh my God! Do you realize how arrogant this sounds? You think a free taco platter is supposed to make up for the marriages she annulled?

    Some of her gay customers got married over the summer and celebrated at El Coyote. Her support of Prop 8 was a direct personal attack on those just-married customers. That’s why people are so mad. Their lives are in limbo now because of what Margie did. This isn’t about a difference of opinion. Her actions have had real consequences for people. That’s not even factoring in the hostile atmosphere the Yes on 8 political attack ads created for gay people by portraying them as a threat to children and society.

    Margie still hasn’t apologized for voting her customers’ rights away. At the meeting, she said she was sorry people were upset, but at no point did she ever take responsibility for the hurt that she caused or apologize for undoing people’s marriages.

    I should point out Margie was the one who said she would take back her donation if she could. She voluntarily made this verbal gesture. But when Sam Page asked if she would donate to the other side — essentially negating her original donation — she refused. Which proves she was b.s.-ing when she said she would take it back if she could.

    • Dear ch. santana:

      Why are you so angry? I think it time for you to perhaps have a time-out. Your comments, albeit, from your hatred of Steve Lopez to splicing an individual sentence I’ve written is just plain rude.

      Did Mrs. Christofferson sponsor a luncheon for a gathering of gay’s who are really pissed? Yes. So what is so arrogant about the truth. Moreover, I simply don’t care how it sounds to you; what I do care about is how people—most of whom have a vested interest in a cause—seem to blow everything out of proportion.

      Now please, did this lady annul anything? No she didn’t. Has anyone in the State of California had their ‘domestic partnerships’ annulled? If you’re going to blame her, where is the anger at the other 54% who endorsed it as well?

      Quite openly it seems to me that there is a lot of misplaced anger, frustration, and hate going on here. By the way, were you at the meeting? Suffice it to say, that this person who you and others are vilifying at least made a civil attempt at decency.

      ANY WHY HAVEN’T YOU PARTICIPATED IN OUR POLL? Every person who has come and commented, albeit, in jest or with real well thought out concerns has not even taken the time to assist us with participating in the poll. C’mon people, get with it!!

  3. Donating to a proposition 8 campaign is akin to writing “I think gay people should lose their rights!” on the outside of her restaurant. Why does it surprise ANYBODY that gay people are protesting the restaurant?

  4. The current protests outside her restaurant are not being conducted to take away Margie’s “free speech” or her right to “vote her conscience.” Lopez was ridiculous to suggest that. Those protests are about holding Margie accountable for her actions. Giving money to that hateful homophobic campaign was a public act of animosity, bigotry, and in her case, extreme hypocrisy. If she loses her job as a result of that public hate act (donating to a prop 8 campaign is a public act), it will be a perfect “free market” example of a consequence of publicly taking a dump on your employees and Thursday night patrons.

    Hey Jon-Paul – why didn’t you allow my last comment? was it because I called you a pedant?

    • Hey Gabe….

      For the most part we allow most if not all comments. I don’t know of the comment you refer too. Re-submit if you want too. ;-))

  5. “… our concerns remain with the banking—donation privacy of an individual …”

    No one’s privacy has been violated. Political donations are a matter of public record — as they should be. The public has a right to know who’s bankrolling legislation and politicians because the law and politics affect us all.

    If someone doesn’t like the reaction they’re getting, that’s just too bad. They made a public statement when they made that donation, and now they’re getting a public reaction. That’s democracy in action.

    • Ch. Santana:

      Whenever I prepare to comment and or respond to any person’s submission I make it a point of at the very least skimming others’ comments to see if my material may have been covered earlier. Here you are:

      Of the second part I find cause for alarm when anyone gets ‘outed’ on the Internet for a donation they’ve made. I do respect the notion that these are public records; however, to use someone’s donation for what they believe in or how they spend their money is to me, still a privacy issue. Actually this was the most costly initiative in history with approximately 80 to 100 million dollars spent by both sides.

      In the future please understand that we are addressing a lady who other than purchasing an airline ticket for an employee’s family member to attend the funeral of a friend who died of AIDS, she also maintains a ‘Thursday Night’s Gay Night’ at the establishment, as well as employs two top tier managers who are both gay and a significant staff of homosexuals as well.

      But most importantly and what a lot of people are over-looking in totality is the fact that in an attempt to right something that wasn’t wrong, she proposed a “let’s meet, I’ll but the lunch and drinks, and let’s talk about this…” to which there was no avail. Instead those who decided to come wanted money. I guess a huge lunch with drinks and good faith doesn’t account for much.

  6. Jon-Paul,

    Did you know that definitions, and the meaning of words change? Over the last few thousand years the meaning of the word “marriage” has changed significantly, buddy. Marriage used to be a property arrangement. You might just be shocked to learn that the current definition of marriage already includes same-sex marriage. Look it up, if you don’t believe me. (FYI: Merriam Webster is generally thought of as the most credible English dictionary. http://www.m-w.com) woopsie! that certainly contradicts your statement: “Marriage means a legal union between a man and a woman. Period and nothing more.” doesn’t it? toodles!

    • Hey Gabe,

      Yes! I am well-aware that definitions of words change over time. That is why even if one has the latest edition of any dictionary it is always ex post facto inasmuch as the very word their seeking may or may not be available.

      Okay Gabe…let’s keep this professional and without posturing shall we? I will openly admit that the inspiration and critical thinking being brought on by articles, comments, and responses really pleases me as a professor; moreover, as a writer.

      Therefore, pursuant to your comment quoting me, I believe that came from an a response from the Editor stating, “Marriage is a legal union…” This notion comes from another article written by and at The Thinker (wordpress.com). Our editor here was merely establishing a baseline meaning, that is, a workable definition for all intents and purposes which comes from:(1) The American Heritage Dictionary; (2) The Unabridged Oxford English Dictionary; and (3) Merriam Webster, the link you provided in your comment. Just for the sake of it and for those who are involved, The Unabridged Oxford English Dictionary, is and remains the number one source for dictionary usage and there is no “…generally thought of as the most crediable English dictionary…” vis-a-vie Merriam Webster in any academic center, convention, institution, or organization I, or anyone else here has ever heard of.

      Here is the data provided by m-w.com:

      Middle English mariage, from Anglo-French, from marier to marry
      Date: 14th century
      Etymology: Middle English mariage, from Anglo-French, from marier to marry

      1 a (1): the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law.

      Glad to see that you’re inspired enough to get to the dictionary! Yet, there is an inherent problem: Although the meanings are precisely the same which is what matters most; however, its reliability is questionable. You claim there are thousands of years that elapse and meanings for words subsequently change. (No argument…for some words.)

      Nonetheless you’ve provided something from Middle English from Anglo-French. Please see (1) The Thinker or my response to urbezn just below for further verification of usage.

      Your definition has perhaps a 608 year usage predicated upon an etymology of 1400 AD which I am absolutely certain finds its etymology in the previously mentioned Latin which as we both know pre-dates considerably ‘Middle English.’ My original sources go back to before the Christian Era through to Rome and onward to present.

      I really enjoy the brain massage provided by you; I will admit that I was surprized to see the number (2) definition including ‘same-sex’ people; however, I should note for this and all other subsequent writings that California’s definition of marriage is the legal union between a man and a woman.

      Thanks again,

  7. Steve Lopez is lying about the police in riot gear. It never happened. This is a fact that is disputed by multiple witnesses who attended the protest. Lopez wasn’t there, so his take is coming from secondhand sources.

    Here’s an account of the protest — with video — from someone who was there.


    People stood on the sidewalk and chanted. But it wasn’t violent, and most people were sad about having to be there.

    If the protest was anything like a riot do you think Billy Shoeppner would feel safe enough to come out and interact with the protesters?

    I think it’s telling that Lopez said gays “mobbed” El Coyote on Thursday nights. Mobbed? As in forced their way in violently? Thursday was an unofficial gay night, but gay patrons used to feel welcome at El Coyote every single night of the week. But Lopez seems to be operating from a mindset that says gays should be segregated from the “normal” customers. Lopez is only driving a wedge between gays who used to be loyal customers and El Coyote staff.

    • Dear fush87:

      This is a part of what concerns us:

      People stood on the sidewalk and chanted…most people were sad about being there.

      (1) People were doing a lot more than standing and chanting—please look at the photo; the menus, specials, and looks on people’s faces say an awful lot. Furthermore, if they were sad, why didn’t they leave?

      Another issue: Thursday was an ‘unofficial gay night;’ okay we don’t have a problem with that although it is discriminatory yet ‘unofficial.’

      In the totality of the issues, why do gays feel uncomfortable? All things being equal the issues seem to be with you and Mr. Lopez being vascillated through this site. No problem and we welcome you perspectives; however, our concerns remain with the banking—donation privacy of an individual; why the anger at a person who openly has no difficulty with gays?

      Seems to us that Mrs. Christofferson came bearing gifts and the proverbial ‘peace pipe’ with her gesture of “let’s have a meet, lunch is on me, let’s talk…” Now reason here with us…

      The upper management at El Coyote (two managers) are gay; a large portion of the 89 employees at El Coyote are gay; albeit unofficial, there still remains ‘Thursday night’s Gay night’, and a person minding her own business with her money becomes a target? Hummm…

  8. That Steve Lopez article is a dishonest hack job. There were no cops in riot gear. Photographs and video of the protest — including the photo posted by the LA Times — prove this. Several bloggers who attended the protest have written the LA Times disputing his account. Hopefully the Times will correct the record.

    When one side has to lie repeatedly in order to make its case, I tend to think it doesn’t have a legitimate argument to make.

    • Dear Mr. and/or Mrs. Pro Testor:

      Normally we do not accept comments from those who do not use their names or at the very least some identifier. However, maintaining our impartial and evenhanded policy here at American Age, we thought it imperative to post your comment. We further feel that although it is an opinion it nonetheless brings some interesting issues and we thank you.

      Which side is ‘lying’ in your position? Steve Lopez wrote either what he saw, witnesses reported, or information gathered that–as we both know–should be verifiable without fault. I would like to add that if we were to hang our hats on one photograph, we’d all accept that JFK was murdered by a lone assassin; furthermore, if we listened only to ‘limited’ reports, poor Rodney King never would have been able to sue the city/county of Los Angeles.

      Hey! Thanks again…great points.

  9. Note from the editor:

    There appears to be a significant amount of hate ferreted out in both submissions. We’d like to propose a question to our great commenters:

    Marriage means a legal union between a man and a woman. Period and nothing more.

    Q1: Why is the gay community asking/demanding that the word ‘marriage’ be included when in fact, it’s not a ‘legal union between a man and a woman”?

    Q2: Did Mrs. Christofferson donate her own money to the Mormon church, or to an organization, or specifically to whom did she write the check too?

    Btw, that eatery’s been standing for a long, long time. I’ve eaten there. Odd that people would pick to ‘mob’ her place of business rather than her residence which is only two blocks away.


  10. That donation was an ACT of animosity, bigotry, and in her case, extreme hypocrisy. The woman hires gays and lesbians to manage her restaurant? Thursday nights are gay night?? Are you effing kidding me?? What a HYPOCRITE!

    • Dear Gabe Coppinger,

      Please understand that the staff here at American Age empathize with you and your feelings. We respect your opinion and therefore allowed what is commented on stand.

      However, due to relevancy issues and length we’ve decided to answer that portion of your comment by email. Hey! Thanks for commenting!

  11. 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

    • urbzen,

      I fundamentally disagree with your premise based on the reality of language and how various traditions are identified within any given society or culture. Of the first part “marriage” in California and for most of the world, specifically The American Heritage Dictionary as well as the Oxford English Dictionary (Unabridged) define marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman.

      Not so bad; however, since centuries of language conventions have used the Latin form of matrimonium where other words such as mater for ‘mother’ and matrilineal for tracing ones ancestors, and also matron, for the confirmed and dignified woman, and maternity for being pregnant or with child.

      I hope you would be able to respect this notion: all marriage is, is the legal union of a man and a woman; therefore, if folks want to have same-sex unions, why not stick to those conventions such as ‘civil-unions, unity-liaisons, or get creative with an identifier for same-sex unions? (Please see The Thinker on WordPress.)

      Of the second part I find cause for alarm when anyone gets ‘outed’ on the Internet for a donation they’ve made. I do respect the notion that these are public records; however, to use someone’s donation for what they believe in or how they spend their money is to me, still a privacy issue. Actually this was the most costly initiative in history with approximately 80 to 100 million dollars spent by both sides.

      And finally as for me I would submit that any group or organization that wants to change a constitution would themselves, be rank and file members of not violating the U.S. Constitution. Mobbing a person’s place of business (public exposure) is for me, not what the Founders had in mind when they penned the right to “peacefully assemble.”

      Nice brain massage…I enjoy thought and especially your inspired critical thinking!

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