A lesbian couple said they were discriminated against recently when an employee at the Tennessee theme park “Dollywood” told one of the women that her “Marriage is so Gay” t-shirt was offensive to other visitors, and denied her admittance until she changed her shirt.
Olivier Odom and Jennifer Tipton, who married last year, said they are “in disbelief.”
She said the front gate host asked her to take off her t-shirt and turn it inside out.
“I was curious what he found offensive about the shirt. If it was the fact that it had the word gay on it or that it was in conjunction with the word marriage,” she said.
Dollywood’s spokeperson said it their policy for the gatekeepers to make decisions about how to enforce the dress code for the thousands of patrons. Their intentions are to prevent any other patrons from being offended. They haven’t had the opportunity to review this case.
Odom said she compiled with the request and turned her shirt inside out, because she was with friends and her friends children, and did not want to spoil the day for the others in her group.
But she said she has sent a letter to Dollywood officials, that read:
“To ensure that your customers are not treated this way in the future, I would like to see Dollywood: implement policies that are inclusive of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people; conduct staff sensitivity training; and issue a public statement indicating that the park is inclusive of all families.”
The theme park, located in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., is owned by entertainer Dolly Parton and the Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation.
Parton has previously voiced her support for LGBT rights and marriage equality.