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Lisa Derrick

Lisa Derrick

Posted: December 8, 2008 07:55 PM

Margaritas Flow Again: El Coyote Manager Resigns Over Prop 8


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Marjorie Christoffersen stepped down as a manager at the Los Angeles Mexican restaurant El Coyote. Christoffersen's $100 donation caused controversy for and criticism of the 77-year-old L.A. dining spot after local blogs broke the news she had donated $100 to the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign at the behest of her Mormon faith.

Bill Schoeppner, a fellow manager at El Coyote who has been with the restaurant for 26 years, told Frontiers Magazine Christoffersen also resigned as a member of El Coyote's board of directors:

She no longer works here. She just told me tonight...Everybody is kind of used to her walking around the restaurant with a water pitcher going from table to table to table. I guess that part is no longer going to exist.

Frontiers' Christopher Lisotta reports:

Schoeppner said Christoffersen tended her resignation to her mother, Grace Salisbury, described on the El Coyote Web site as the "matriarch" of the restaurant. Salisbury's sister-in-law founded El Coyote in 1931.

El Coyote's inexpensive Mexican food, generous margaritas, and central location made the restaurant a popular spot for generations, and it was an LGBT favorite for its food drinks, and kitsch facto, as well as its history: Sharon Tate ate her last meal there and George Clooney and Fabio got into a dust up when the Italian model called Hollywood's Numero Uno leading man "a diva."Once Christoffersen's donation hit the web, El Coyote became the target of boycotts and demonstrations . At a press conference/breakfast hosted by the restaurant--where no one ate a thing-- days after the news of the donation broke, Christoffersen tried to explain her donation did not have to do with any distaste for LGBT community, but was instead tied to her Mormon faith.

At the community meeting, attended by over 70 members of the community, many of whom were long time customers, Christoffersen did not apologize for the donation and did not indicate she would support any No on 8 organization. A series of demonstrations and a month long boycott began. The community itself felt hurt and betrayed by Christoffersen, who had always been kind to them.

When one of the guys died from AIDS, Marjorie paid for his mother to fly out for his funeral. She is not a bad woman, she just listened to her church and couldn't see, didn't understand. There's a disconnect. But our money went towards taking away our rights.

It is sad Christoffersen's faith stepped into her relationship with people she had known for decades and cared about and made her see them as "less than" and undeserving of the same rights she and her family have.

Lisa Derrick writes for campaignsilo.com, part of the firedoglake.com website

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