Dollywood Passes on Meeting With Lesbian Couple

Olivier Odom was asked to turn her shirt 'marriage is so gay' inside out
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 3, 2011 8:58 AM CDT
In a July 25, 2011 photo, lesbian couple Jennifer Tipton, left, and Olivier Odom are seen at a coffee house in Knoxville, Tenn.   (AP Photo/Knoxville News Sentinel, Saul Young)
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(Newser) – Dollywood officials have offered a refund to a lesbian couple after an employee asked one of the women to turn her T-shirt reading "marriage is so gay" inside-out to avoid offending others during a recent visit to the Tennessee theme park complex. Park officials were going to meet with the couple in person, but it was called off when Jennifer Tipton and Olivier Odom wanted to bring a representative from Campaign for Southern Equality, a gay rights organization. A Dollywood park spokesman said they weren't interested in meeting with the gay-rights advocate, who wasn't personally involved in the dispute.

"Everyone knows my personal support of the gay and lesbian community," Dolly Parton said in a statement. "Dollywood is a family park and all families are welcome." Odom and Tipton said they were glad to see Parton's supportive statement, but were disappointed that Dollywood officials declined to meet with them and their equality advocate. The couple sent a letter to Dollywood officials asking the park "to implement policies that are inclusive of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people; conduct staff sensitivity training; and issue a public statement indicating that the park is inclusive of all families."

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