A lesbian trying to enter Dollywood's Splash Country amusement park was ordered by a host at the front gate to turn her shirt, which said "Marriage Is So Gay," inside out or be denied entrance to the park, WBIR-TV of Knoxville, Tennessee reports.
Olivier Odom and Jennifer Tipton brought a friend's children to the theme park, but were stopped at the entrance when a gatekeeper saw Odom's shirt. Sales of the shirt raise money and awareness for marriage equality.
"I was in disbelief," Odom said. "I didn't think it was the policy of Dollywood to discriminate against the LGBT community." She added, "I was curious what he found offensive about the shirt. It if was the fact that it had the word gay on it or that it was in conjunction with the word marriage." Odom also said she saw patrons with tattoos she finds offensive as well as rebel flags.
In order to avoid ruining the childrens' day, Odom obeyed the gatekeeper, and turned her shirt inside out, but hopes the situation will help usher a change in Dollywood policy.
A Dollywood spokesperson said it's the policy of the park for decisions regarding enforcement of dress code for the patrons to be made by the gatekeepers. The intention is prevention of other patrons being offended, and park officials haven't had the opportunity to review this particular case yet.
Dolly Parton has not comment on the incident, but has been a longtime advocate for equality. In a recent interview with the gay newspaper Dallas Voice, she talked about her LGBT fans. "I have always loved my gay fans," she said."They accept me and I accept them. We get along just fine. I am very proud and honored when they dress up like me or whatever they want to do!"
Watch a news report on the Dollywood Splash Country incident below: