By: Shannon Ralph
Dolly Parton, singer, songwriter, and all-around icon, has issued a public apology to a lesbian couple after an incident at her theme park, Dollywood. Olivier Odom and Jennifer Tipton visited Dollywood’s water park, Splash Country, recently. At the entrance gate, a staff member objected to Odom’s “Marriage is So Gay” t-shirt and asked that she turn it inside out to avoid offending other visitors. Rather than make a scene because they were were with friends and their friends’ children, Odom complied. She later filed a complaint.
Tipton told the Associated Press, “That’s what we found so offensive—that he said it was a family park. Families come in a wide range of definitions these days and we were with our family.”
Parton has issued an public apology to ABC News, stating, “I am truly sorry for the hurt or embarrassment regarding the gay and lesbian T-shirt incident at Dollywood’s Splash Country recently. Everyone knows of my personal support of the gay and lesbian community. Dollywood is a family park and all families are welcome.” Staff at the water park say they will review the policy.
Parton has a huge gay following and can often be found speaking out on gay rights issues. She has been heard to quip, “I always say, ‘Sure, why can’t they get married? They should suffer like the rest of us do.’”