Dolly Parton Is Sorry That Her Theme Park Hates Gay Marriage, Y’all

Dollywood’s Splash Country messed with the wrong lesbian couple when a park employee asked one of the women to reverse her “Marriage is so gay” t-shirt, so as not to offend the delicate eyeballs of fellow “family” park-goers. The enraged couple Olivier Odom and Jennifer Tipton went straight to the media with the story; or as straight as a lesbian couple can go.

Dolly Parton, who has a huge gay following, immediately issued a statement of apology to ABC news.

Parton said: “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.”

She added: “I am looking further into the incident and hope and believe it was more policy than insensitivity. I am very sorry it happened at all.”

Pete Owens, Dollywood spokesman, stated that dress code policy is to ask people with clothing or tattoos that could be considered offensive to change clothes or cover up. He further added, “We try to provide an environment for families of all shapes and sizes to enjoy themselves.”

Odom and Tipton argue that it’s cool to have dress code policies and all, but maybe their employees should use common sense when determining what’s considered offensive, and teach them that “families” aren’t just the hetero kind.

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  • Jim

    Actually, when I first heard what was written on my shirt, I immediately thought it was some homophobic message, considering the apparent use of the “X is gay” pejorative. Obviously that isn’t the case.

  • Jim

    @Jim: before anyone jumps down my throat: I just wanted to share what was my initial reaction to the text of the shirt, without seeing what it looks like.

  • Mr. Enemabag Jones


    I agree with you, Jim. I thought the same thing first time I saw the shirt. And quite possibly the park employee thought the same thing. But rather than start a dialogue, these two ladies went running to the media. Maybe they should have at least contacted Dolly Parton herself, and see what she had to say about it.

  • Spike

    Dolly is a class act! It’s too bad that the extreme left LGBT bloggers grabbed this story and ran with it before it was fully investigated and Ms Parton given a chance to respond.

  • timncguy

    @Mr. Enemabag Jones: I heard a more detailed report on this last week on Serius OutQ radio. These women DID NOT go running to the media immediately. Their initial reaction was to write a letter to DollyWood. But, they FIRST contacted a LGBT advocacy group to talk about how to respond and to make sure they worded their letter to the park appropriately. Ultimately they did write to the part with their complaint PRIOR to going to the media.

    If you are a regular reader of QUEERTY you should know better by now than to trust their reporting of how anything actually happened.

  • PTBoat

    Funny, I’ve been to Dollywood with my husband and another couple. To say that Dollywood hates gays is absolutely opposite of our experience there.

  • Hyhybt

    @Mr. Enemabag Jones: But the thing is, if you have to *explain* why the shirt is not offensive, then it will still offend those you haven’t spoken with: the other park visitors, who are the reason for the (overbroad, but to me understandable) rule in the first place. And meanwhile, many people who *do* understand the shirt are going to be offended by its proper meaning. They SHOULDN’T be, but they will be. If the idea is that nobody will wear controversial messages, in the middle of Tennessee… well, it’s a hard spot to be put in.

  • christopher di spirito

    I believe Dolly. She can’t be everywhere at once and as soon as this terrible event was brought to her attention, she responded.

    Good for her.

  • Cam

    “Pete Owens, Dollywood spokesman, stated that dress code policy is to ask people with clothing or tattoos that could be considered offensive to change clothes or cover up.”

    What are the guildlines to decide what could be considered offensive?

  • Anonymous

    Team Dolly.

  • Kirk212

    Go Dolly – love her!

  • ewe

    Change clothes or cover up? Sounds like the freagin Vatican. NOT VALID DOLLY. Change park policy. She is the owner of a discrimatory business.

  • ewe

    I always seem to take notice of very big fat people in spandex. Can i have them removed? I mean Dolly says they should change clothes and/or cover up right?

  • ewe

    So what does the word “gay” imply in “marriage is so gay” that is offensive? Let’s stay focused on the employee instead of blaming the park visitor.

  • ewe

    and lastly it is unbelievable that anyone should be required to cover up when Dolly Parton has been parading herself around like a nursing cow for 4 or 5 decades.

  • Jeff

    @ewe: You are just the epitome of class and grace :)

  • ewe

    @Jeff: why thank you. That’s so sweet.

  • zrocqs

    @Spike: Oy! Where to start? That’s a whole lot of ridiculous for such a tiny post. Yup, Dolly has Class (capital “C”), and has expressed appreciation for her Queer fans for decades. Great singer, truly gifted songwriter. Two-and-a-half hoots on top of it all. But she wouldn’t even have been aware of this situation if it weren’t for the “extreme left LGBT bloggers”. (Thank God the merely far-left LGBT bloggers didn’t get their panties in a twist too.) Spike, do us a favor and spend more time watching Fox News and less time online.

  • Spike


    “Spike, do us a favor and spend more time watching Fox News and less time online.”

    Hate to burst your bubble but I’m all about MSNBC, esp. Rachel.

  • Jennifer Tipton

    @timncguy: Thanks for actually listening to the entire story before snapping judgement on us. Olivier did write the park a letter before we went to the media and just to set the record straight “or as straight as two lesbians can get” THE MEDIA CAME TO US!!!! That’s when we decided that the LGBT community in East Tennessee might have a chance to be heard. This is about dress code policy clarification. If you read the actual policy you will see how vague it is. No where written in black and white does it say anything about tattoos!!!! We are asking for clarification on the dress code policy….For an all inclusive policy for Dollywood and Splash Country’s employees and guests and for sensitivity training for their staff to further prevent these issues from happening in the future! I don’t think asking for those 3 things is pushing our agenda down anyone’s throat! We just want equal rights not PRIVILEGED rights!!!

  • Jennifer Tipton

    Oh and unlike others that have hidden their true identities….I’m not afraid to speak my mind and let everyone know it’s me!

  • zrocqs

    @Spike: My sincere apologies, Spike. I got *my* knickers in a twist. Being a liberal, I assume too much when I see references to the “extreme left”. BTW, Maddow rocks!

  • Tim

    Why would anyone wear a t-shirt like that in the first place – TTFW…

  • averageguy40

    Sometimes we are our own worst enemy. No wonder some straight people don’t like us. We make mountains out of mole hills all the time. How hard would it have been to change shirts and enjoy the rest of your day? Everything doesn’t have to be a cause or a chance to change the world. I’ve been to Dollywood and had a wonderful experience there. I never felt threatened or discriminated against. But then again, I dressed and acted like a responsible park guest.

  • zrocqs

    @averageguy40: The park employee applied his/her own bias to park rules, in an attempt to “have…a cause or…change the world.” You “dressed and acted like a responsible park guest”? By refusing to comply with an unreasonable demand, and bringing this problem public, these paying Lesbian “guests” have helped to create a better environment for all Queer park-goers.

  • ewe

    @averageguy40: well the people bulging out of their spandex don’t get kicked out. You wanna explain that????

Comments are closed.