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Prop. 8 stance upends her life

STEVE LOPEZ

December 14, 2008|STEVE LOPEZ

I had lunch at El Coyote on Thursday, and most of the tables were empty.

Margie was off in a dark corner of the restaurant -- at the table where Sharon Tate had her last meal -- exchanging Christmas presents with friends and her mother.

I sat on the patio with Wayne and two other El Coyote managers -- Arnoldo Archila and Bill Schoeppner -- who happen to be gay.

"We always joked around with Margie," said Schoepp- ner, who's been on the job 26 years. "I'm a Democrat and voted for Obama; she probably voted for McCain -- so what? If she were a bigot or a homophobe, you wouldn't have had all these gay people" working at the restaurant or eating at it.

Besides, the donation was personal.

"She didn't cut a check from the restaurant," added Archila, a 28-year employee. "The restaurant didn't have anything to do with it."

Archila said he and other employees voted no on Prop. 8 and gave money to the legal challenge. As someone who came to the U.S. 30 years ago from El Salvador, Archila said, he's always cherished this country's right of free speech and the diversity of opinion.

"You can express yourself as a citizen," said Archila. "Not everyone has to believe the same things."

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steve.lopez@latimes.com

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