El Coyote = InEquality

(Portions of this post were provided by the great Micah McCain) 

There were over 60 folks in attendance today at El Coyote for the press conference/statement brunch that Marjorie, the owner, and El Coyote presented.

A manager stood in the middle of the back room and stated that “El Coyote does not share the same views as Marjorie.” He stated that 89 families were going to be affected by this boycott and one of the community members screamed out “18,000 families already HAVE been affected!”

While the floor manager continued talking, it became more apparent that what this community conference was about, was distancing Marjorie from El Coyote itself.  Marjorie walked out with two younger ladies on her arm and spoke from a prepared statement.

She asked for forgiveness for being so emotional and said that “El Coyote is as diverse as it’s clientele. Customers are considered part of the family and I responded to the call of the Mormon Church to donate [towards the ban on same sex marriage].”

As she continued to speak it seemed even more clear that she was distancing herself from El Coyote. Marjorie began talking about how much her Aunt had done to support gays and the plight of the GLBT Community since opening the restaurant and asked that “[she] personally take responsibility for [the] blame and anger” because she said she was aware of the boycott and pending protest slated for Thursday (tomorrow 11/13) night outside the front restaurant.

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.” 

She closed with how much she loved us all.  At which point she opened the floor to questions. 

A gentleman by the same of Sam Paige, who said he was an ex-member of the Mormon Church, asked if she was willing to donate to repeal prop 8.  A representative of the restaurant stepped in and stated that El Coyote was going to donate to Lambda Legal and the Gay and Lesbian Center and Sam said, I asked her what she was going to do.

Marjorie said: “I will not.”

At which point the place went a little nutty.

One of the daughters started telling everyone,“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 prominently yelled: “She is not my friend. Friends don’t take away the rights of others and then blame their church!”

People applauded in accordance while the mounting tension was palpable.

Once the room calmed down, Marjorie was asked again if she would do anything to counteract what she had done and she said: “No.” at which point someone yelled“BOYCOTT EL COYOTE” and Marjorie was quickly escorted out the back entrance.  A number of community members spoke, including myself, about the effects on the community.  I reminded people of the effects on all of the LGBTQ youth that are calling the Trevor Helpline because they are contemplating suicide.  Youth from all over the country that are kicked out due to their families religious beliefs.  They are alone, scared, and will make bad choices.  CA has said to them, you are not equal.  What do those kids do now? 

I urge us all to make decisions based on fact.  Find out if you are supporting those that don’t support you.  www.latimes.com/news/local/la-metro-prop-8,0,2463893.htmlstory.

You can click these links to see my reaction to the meeting on ABC News and to hear my reaction on NPR:

http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/local/los_angeles&id=6502661&rss=rss-kabc-article-6502661

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=96933454

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8 responses to “El Coyote = InEquality

  1. Good work Sam! It’s sad that this has happened and I feel bad for El Coyote employees. I even feel bad for Majorie. She must be feeling a similar mix of emotions as those of us who were discriminated against becuase of Prop. 8. However, people must know that they are consequences for every action, no matter how large or small thier part played.

  2. I think it is clear that she has no apology for what she did. Along with not eating at El Coyote, let us unite in a visual protest to make our voices heard. We should not just sit back in complacency!

    PROTEST TO BOYCOTT EL COYOTE:

    Thursday, November 13th @ 7:00pm
    El Coyote (7312 Beverly Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90036)

    Bring signs & friends!

  3. eric from los angeles

    We are suppose to have pity on the employess when for decades millions of gay people are sructinized, judged, disciminated against, NOT HIRED, and hated. Marjorie knew exaclty what she was doing and this is the reprecussions of unintelligble behavior. If “El Coyote” was that out of touch with its clientel they deserve a boycott!!

  4. “Anger leads to fear. Fear leads to hate. Hate leads to the darkside.” – wise little green guy

    Be upset. Protest. But remember in the end the true path to victory is to change the hearts and minds of those who would stand in your way.

    Equality will come, its trending in that direction and it likely would have happened were it not for the high African-American turnout. And despite everything, that particular community probably would have voted for it even without the Mormon ads. (Not trying to be racist, just look at the statistics) Putting aside Prop 8, it’s clear that the gay and lesbian community needs to reach out, engage, and educate that community.

    Prop 8 is wrong. Those who donated to ads for it are wrong. Some minds you’ll change, some you won’t.

    So protest. Be angry. Just be smart about it.

    (by the way, you’re not doing anything wrong…all I’m saying it to be careful to keep anger in check)

  5. In this El Coyote instance, I am in the minority who believes Marjorie should be allowed her personal religious beliefs re: the marriage issue.

    The luncheon seemed to indicate that El Coyote (the restaurant that employs gays, welcomes gays, and has apparently previously donated to gay causes) plans to make additional substantial donations to the LA Gay and Lesbian Center and Lambda Legal.

    I believe the positives that El Coyote (the restaurant) does for the gay community potentially outweigh the negative of Marjorie’s personal $100 YES donation and her personal YES vote.

    I disagree with the suggested protest at El Coyote tomorrow…but I will see you on Saturday at LA City Hall.

    Very Best To All. 🙂

  6. I wish I were a regular El Coyote customer, so that my boycott would make a difference. But I’m not (went there once, didn’t like it). But if invited to go there I will refuse. And I will actively discourage friends and acquaintances from going.

  7. I think we have more important things to focus on than Marjorie’s vote and her penny-ante $100.

    How about SBE’s silence on this Proposition? Our community spends a LOT more money at the Abbey than El Coyote will ever see.

    Let’s respect individual’s rights to believe, donate, and vote as they see fit. Marjorie isn’t our objective; changing the minds of the 89 families who work there. (I wonder if THEY’RE a demographic we haven’t reached?)

    Let’s focus on A1 Storage, whose founders gave nearly $1,000,000 to Yes on 8. Let THESE businesses be held to account, not insignificant donations from insignificant people.

  8. While Ms. Christoffersen’s donation to 8 seems insignificant, it is her allegiance to the LDS church and it’s teachings regarding homosexuality that is my real concern. I have a friend that is a member of the LDS church, that donated funds to the Yes on 8 cause and had a sign in her yard because the church told her to support it. A letter was read in ALL LDS churches in California from the PROPHET of the church (who resides in Utah) telling members to support financially and volunteer in any way possible the Yes on 8 campaign.
    This friend, who is white, was raised in Utah, came to CA, met a black man, had him convert to mormonism, and married him. This woman presumably voted FOR RIGHTS TO BE ELIMINATED, and a mere 40 years ago, she would not have had the right to marry her husband she is married to today! Not to mention, that it has not been that long since blacks were actually allowed to even join the LDS church.
    So, while Marjorie gave a mere $100, it is her allegiance to her church, her faith, her beliefs run very very deep. And that is the real problem.
    Church leaders, speaking for GOD, on an issue of eliminating rights, to their congregations, their flocks.
    Rick Warren, prominent pastor of Saddleback Church in South OC, the author of “The Purpose Driven Life” reportedly sent out a mailer to ALL members of his congregations (thousands) encouraging them to vote YES on 8.
    I say, be smart, keep your eyes open and watch your back. Don’t spend your money where it will then be used for efforts of discrmination.

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