01/09/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Prop 8 Casualty...Is It Overkill?


From Frontiers News Magazine, December 8, 2008, Special Email Bulletin:

Frontiers magazine learned Saturday Marjorie Christoffersen is stepping down as a manager at the Los Angeles restaurant El Coyote. Bill Schoeppner, a fellow manager at El Coyote who has been with the restaurant for 26 years, told Frontiers Christoffersen was also resigning as a member of El Coyote's board of directors.

"She no longer works here," Schoeppner said on Saturday. "She just told me tonight."

Christoffersen created a firestorm of controversy for the 77-year-old L.A. institution after local blogs broke the news she had donated $100 to the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign. Long a popular destination for the LGBT community for its cheap Mexican food and generous Margaritas, El Coyote found itself the target of boycotts and demonstrations after Christoffersen's donation went public. In a press conference hosted by the restaurant days after the news of the donation broke, Christoffersen tried to explain her donation did not have to do with animus for gay and lesbian people, but was instead tied to her Mormon faith. Christoffersen did not apologize for the donation and did not indicate she would support any No on 8 organization. Boycott organizers and demonstrators were not impressed, and have argued online and in the local news media that Christoffersen's support for the ban of same-sex marriage was reason to shun El Coyote.

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

"Everybody is kind of used to her walking around the restaurant with a water pitcher going from table to table to table," Schoeppner said of Christofferson. "I guess that part is no longer going to exist."

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Wrong Again

What a sad, sad story the above is. Because we got it wrong, again. What did we gain by this, we, as a community? And old woman lost her job and a place for her to be...yes, by her own religious bigotry. But what would have worked better? Banishment? Or educating.

In the above story she says it has to do with her Mormon faith...that is a learned trait, a learned habit. It can be educated out of her. Show her by example she is wrong every day by living out, proud lives as couples in her face. Show her how we form the families, how we have the bonds.

Of course, she works at a place known for cheap margaritas, so I'm quite sure what she's seen of our morals and values...

In any event, now, she's run off, a wounded Mormon, a victim of the nasty gays. She's not an ally. And we need them.

She is and was wrong, yes. But she was rightfully sorry. And her $100 is nothing compared to thousands who go employed, still running businesses. Burger King is still going. Cinemark Movie Theatres still showing films. How about picking on a the big guys, sure, this woman was wrong, but getting her fired did absolutely nothing.

I'm sorry. I am. I know it's not right of me and I should want her to burn in hell. I should. And part of me does. But the other part knows better. It knows that people like her, who are around the community a lot, can be educated, can be shown the way of non-bigotry.

Because remember, I don't want to take her Mormon faith from her. Her insanity is her own. No, I want to simply educate her that neither she, nor the Mormons, Catholics or any one has the right to vote for the violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the State and U.S. Constitution. Remove the argument fro her Mormon minister and bring it to her where it counts, at home and at work. Show her she doesn't have to condone gay marriage of any kind, that her church doesn't have to welcome it if it doesn't want to, but that it cannot legislate against it either.

We lost another ally because we're slashing and burning the weak in this battle while the major players go unpunished.

Even Barack Obama said marriage was between a man and a woman at a time when we needed his voice on our side about equality. He let us down, too, remember, and many of you still gave him a job.

And took Christoffersen's.

So go to this restaurant now with clean minds, never knowing where the oil money is going you just put in your car, where the money comes from or goes to for the clothes you wear, the shoes, the accessories. Travel to countries like the Bahamas where being gay is illegal and live in states and bolster their economies where they refuse to even acknowledge we or you exist. Allow churches to go untaxed and ultimately order a beverage filled with poison that can lead to arrest, driving accidents, death or the spread of HIV through bad decisions and denounce anyone as immoral and wrong that hands it to you if their ideology is not your own.

I don't want to be fired for being gay. I don't want to be fired because the community or members of it may disagree with my lifestyle. If I donate to a cause not deemed politically correct by some perhaps they should educate me as to why, and, if they can't then STOP going where I work, don't demand I not work there.

Freedom. Marjorie Christoffersen had the right to donate $100 to Yes on 8. You, us we, have the right to not frequent where she eats. But we also have the OBLIGATION to not just let her fall away, but to try and educate her, to show her why this was a bad choice to make.

If then she continues making such choices, you agree to disagree and let her know you'll do all you can to oppose her. But while you oppose her, she has a right to work. You just don't have to be there when she is or give money to the place that employs her.

Americans have the right to be wrong. She's not the reason this battle was lost so stop blaming $100 donors. This battle was won by people who never donated a dime. Minority first time voters voted for Change in the White House but had their preacher's words from the Holy House helping them the rest of the way. After all, most had never done this before (voted) and were overwhelmed. They went in to a comfort zone. They were lied to by their preachers because their preachers were lied to by the Mormon Church, Catholic Church and other Church leaders through deceitful propaganda. Their preachers believed their higher church leader who knew better, but lied anyway.

They are the ones that must be removed from their jobs, not Marjorie. She's the least of our worries.

There are higher powers, and higher donors, with which to deal. Or are they, we, us afraid we won't win with them and this revenge feels good?