She’s the manager of a once-popular gay hangout in Los Angeles. After opponents of Proposition 8, which repealed same-sex unions in that state, learned that she chipped in $100 to support the ballot measure. they turned on her and the restaurant.
Soon after California’s passage of a initiative banning same-sex marriage last month, dozens of gay activists descended on the El Coyote restaurant with signs and placards. They chanted “Shame on you,” cussed at patrons and began a boycott of the cafe.
The restaurants’s crime: A daughter of the owner donated $100 to support Proposition 8, the antigay-marriage initiative approved by voters. Gay activists have refused to lift the boycott—which restaurant managers say has slashed revenues by 30%—even after some El Coyote employees raised $500 to help repeal the new ban.
It’s a new world in gay activism, dubbed Stonewall 2.0 in fact. It’s an activism fueled by resentment and anger over the Prop. 8 loss in California that spread like wildfire across the country after the Nov. 4 vote. It’s even inspired a new grassroots activism in Atlanta, spawning three events here—rally at the State Capitol and candlelight vigil on Nov. 15 and a Dec. 13 protest outside two malls in Buckhead. There’s talk of another rally on Jan. 19 when controversial mega pastor Rick Warren comes to Atlanta to keynote MLK holiday commemorations.
In Los Angeles, the effort to punish people who make money from gay commerce has included at least two casualties.
So far, the boycott campaign has claimed at least two high-profile casualties: Scott Eckern, artistic director of the California Musical Theatre in Sacramento, and Richard Raddon, president of the Los Angeles Film Festival. Both men resigned after their private donations to Yes on 8 were revealed and activists threatened boycotts unless they quit.
Mr. Eckern and Mr. Raddon were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose members accounted for much of the $40 million in contributions raised by the Yes on 8 campaign. “The main finger we are pointing is at the Mormon Church,” says Vic Gerami, a leading gay activist in West Hollywood, Calif.
But the effort also has its detractors.
“It’s a lynch mob,” says Carl Bell, 77 years old, a retired Hollywood animator who dined there on a recent afternoon. “I’m ashamed of the gay community.”
At first, Ms. Christoffersen stayed away, but then returned to the cafe when the protests faded. “Tons of people have called or come in to show their support, and that has been gratifying,” she said at the El Coyote on a recent evening, when several tables remained empty.
Photo: Jim Carlton, The Wall Street Journal