The famous Los Angeles Mexican Restaurant El Coyote is at the center of directed anger over the passing of Prop 8. It seems the manager and owner’s daughter, Marjorie Christoffersen, donated money through her Mormon church to Yes on Prop 8. For those who don’t already know, Prop 8 bans gay marriages in the state of California and was passed in the November 4th election. Sad but true. As word got out about Ms. Christoffersen’s donation, many in the community talked of a boycott. In an attempt to get in front of that potentially disastrous demonstration, El Coyote held a press conference today. There, the floor manager stated that “El Coyote DOES NOT share the same views as Marjorie.” He also stated that 89 families would be effected if the restaurant were boycotted to which a community member responded, “18,000 families already HAVE been affected!”
According to shutupiknow.blogspot.com, Ms. Christoffersen came out and spoke to the crowd. She asked for forgiveness and said that “El Coyote is as diverse as its clientele. Customers are considered part of the family and I responded to the call of the Mormon Church to donate.” She continued, “It saddens me that my faith keeps you away from The Coyote. I can not and WILL NOT change my lifelong commitment to the Mormon Church. I can not and will not change my commitment to you.” Another community member asked her if she was willing to donate to No on Prop 8 and Ms. Christoffersen apparently started crying and said, “I will not.” That’s when the place went wild. One of Ms. Christoffersen’s daughters stepped up and said, “The church just tells you when to donate, it doesn’t tell you how to vote. It very, very rarely tells you how to vote. Marjorie is your friend-“ at which point someone yelled, “SHE IS NOT MY FRIEND. FRIENDS DON’T HELP TAKE THE RIGHTS AWAY OF OTHER FRIENDS AND THEN BLAME IT ON THEIR CHURCH!” People applauded. When also asked if she would do anything to counteract what she had done, Ms. Christoffersen replied, “No” at which point the place went wild again with calls of “This is Bullshit!“ and “Boycott El Coyote!” as Ms. Christoffersen was escorted out of the room.
While I am actively opposed to Prop 8, voted against it on November 4th and hope to see it torn down, I have mixed feelings about boycotting El Coyote. Well, let me rephrase that: I’m already boycotting El Coyote, but only because the food sucks. Not for Ms. Christoffersen’s unfortunate views. And while I find it sad that Ms. Christoffersen and her church have such backward views of people and the world, I don’t think the restaurant itself should pay for her personal beliefs. There are many staff members at El Coyote who are gay and many others who I am sure voted against Prop 8, maybe even donated their hard-earned money to the cause. To ask Ms. Christoffersen to choose between her beliefs and the success of her restaurant and its employees seems somehow unfair. Unless I’m missing something. Emotions are high and Prop 8 is a big deal as it limits people’s rights and will amend the Constitution to NOT allow someone to have the same rights as another, as we once did when it was illegal for a black person and a white person to marry. Shameful days, indeed. However, I support Ms. Christoffersen’s right to have her own opinion and make her own choices. This is America. And Ms. Christoffersen and the Mormon church are NOT El Coyote and its employees.
And while we’re on the subject, if there’s anyone left out there who hasn’t already seen Keith Olbermann’s take on Prop 8, you can watch it now. I will say that I sometimes find Olbermann to be a bit overdramatic and slightly self-righteous in his commentaries. Even though I often share his opinions. And here he makes quite an impassioned commentary on the sad state of affairs that allowed Prop 8 to pass. Very worth a listen. But I still don’t support a boycott of El Coyote. Unless it’s for the bad food.
There is quite a heated debate regarding this issue over at my mirror post. Please take a look and feel free to add your thoughts and comments to the discussion.