This Age of Tolerance: Triple-D Doublespeak

Upon entering the Dollywood (as in Dolly Parton) amusement park in Tennessee, a woman was asked to turn her t-shirt inside out.

It said: “marriage is so gay.”

She did so, but was “offended.”

She was not, of course, asked to leave the park. She was not criticized or ridiculed or otherwise harassed — all of which would be wrong. On private property, she was asked to respect the family atmosphere.

But in news reports about the incident, she makes clear why the “to each his own” arguments you often hear as valid reason to rewrite out laws don’t quite hold up to our new reality.

It is, in fact, as wet as anyone getting off a Dollywood log flume.

Olivier Odom, the woman with the t-shirt, says: “If marriage equality is going to happen, it’s not going to happen if people sit at home quietly.”

From AP:

Odom said that they visited the water park July 9 with friends and their friends’ two children when she was asked by a person at the front gate to turn her shirt inside out because it was a family park.

Odom said she complied so as not to make a scene in front of the children, but felt offended.

“That’s what we found so offensive — that he said it was a family park,” Tipton said. “Families come in a wide range of definitions these days and we were with our family.”

The two said they felt they needed to file a complaint with Dollywood because they believed it was important to stand up for their beliefs in marriage equality.

“If marriage equality is going to happen, it’s not going to happen if people sit at home quietly,” Odom said.

Odom said they understand the park can have dress code policies, but she felt Dollywood needed to make their policies clear and provide better training for employees when determining what is considered offensive.

Odom and Tipton are not legally married, but held a ceremony last year in North Carolina. They wrote an email to the park 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.”

This isn’t just about rewriting the institution of marriage in our laws. It certainly is not simply about being legally friends with financial and visitation and other benefits. It’s about validation. It’s not about tolerance, but enforcing a new moral code.

Take that with your cotton candy.



  • aimai


    Pedophilia involves sexual attention towards a child. A child is someone who can not legally give consent to the relationship. Consent. Spell it. Think about it. It is the lack of witting consent that makes the act illegal. Something can be illegal without being a mental disorder–theft, for example. So your fears that pedophilia will be taken out of the DSM are unnecessary. Even if pedophilia were determined by the psychiatric profession not to be a “mental disorder” it would not therefore become legal. Psychiatrists might change the way they try to deal with it medically but the law would not change.

    You are expressing a great deal of anxiety over other people’s (consensual) sex lives. I’m sorry for you. That must take up a lot of time for you. I have school aged children–two, girls. I’m not in the slightest worried about their sexuality or what they know about sex. I’ve taught them well what I think they need to know, aided by the very thoughtful school nurse at their school who (gasp!) is gay, married, and has two children of her own. My happy heterosexual marriage and the lengthy, sixty year plus marriages of my parents and grandparents have not been at all disturbed by gay marriages around us here in MA. Our children seem to have a happy and healthy appreciation for the loving marriages all around them. They know they are loving not by what they imagine goes on in the bedroom but by what they see when they see their teachers, friends, and friends’ parents interacting at school board meetings, lunches, play dates etc…

    Here are some other things I don’t worry about: what goes on between two consenting adults in a Buddhist marriage, or an Islamic marriage, or a Hindu marriage, or a Catholic marriage, or a Protestant marriage. Your prurient interest in other people’s sex lives and sex acts comes across as some kind of phobia. Rather like Kathryn’s obsession, a little inappropriate in a never married woman, with the idea of marriage as some kind of goody that should be reserved only to people just like her. Marriage is not a club that only people Kathryn, or you, think are good enough to join. Marriage is a civil act within a modern state and therefore, to the extent it has goods and services and rights attached, its a civil right. Sacred marriage as performed by various religions is, of course, another matter. Keep your Catholic rites Catholic and let the rest of us enjoy our private, civil and other-religious marriages.


  • Genesis

    Marriage is not gay, it is between one one man and one woman. This shirt was meant to be an “in your face” statement. These Secular Extremists first insisted that homosexuality was just an alternative lifestyle in the 1980s. In the 1990s we were told by these same extremists that we didn’t need a constitutional amendment that says marraige is between a man and a woman because everyone knew that. Now we are told that homosexual marriage is a civil right. What next? Grammar school health courses will need to teach this to children as an educational requirement otherwise the diplomas from those school will not be recognized? That will be the next step. After that maybe the gay lobby will push the American Psychiatric Association to to declassify pedophelia as a mental disorder (as they did with homosexuality years ago)? The secular extremists replaced morality with political correctness and speech codes and the result has been a cultural downhill slide. Take God out of society and it is as Whittaker Chambers once said – “The promise of new ideas was as old as that serpentine whisper heard in the dawn of creation: ‘You shall become as gods.” Secular extremists to a tee.

  • Nonnymoose

    I think the tee shirt is certainly offensive. But the question is, are we really comfortable telling this woman that she has to hide her message when we are vehemently fighting those who do the very same thing to us? For example, the incidents of children in schools who have been forced to turn their Christian or pro-traditional-marriage tee shirts inside out, or even go home and change.

    Of course we know the Christian message is the right one. But we had all better be careful how we reflect on issues of expressing unpopular viewpoints in public…because our viewpoint is already being censored. Is the answer to censor others’ speech (which this basically was)? How big or small does the offense have to be to qualify for censorship? Etc.

    Even though I deeply oppose “gay marriage” and I do think the shirt is offensive, there is such a thing as freedom of speech, even for those with whom we deeply disagree. In all honesty, I have been more offended by sexist tee shirts with rude or obscene images on them than I would have been by this one…and believe me, I deeply, deeply oppose everything that tee shirt stands for!

    On the other hand, it is a moral and spiritual danger to children to have these things put in their faces, and I can see the thinking that says, Look, parents shouldn’t have to have this pushed on their children while they’re at this park, who inevitably will say, “Mom, what is gay?” But maybe that’s the price we pay for freedom for all? Just thinking out loud…. Anyway, I don’t know if Dollywood is a place kids go in large numbers.

  • gocart mozart

    The conservative P.C. police strike again.

  • aimai

    I don’t really understand Kathryn’s anger over this. Dollywood is a “family” attraction that attracts families. In fact, it attracted a family with two children and two lesbian friends. People who are not married to each other–dating, for example, or just platonic friends can choose, in this country, to attend other public locations without being asked to change their clothing. The word “gay” or the existence of out lesbians and gays don’t affect whether the attraction is a “family” one or whether families–which definitionally include lesbian and gay children as well as adults and adult siblings–feel comfortable in it. I don’t see “Marriage is so gay” as being obscene, or sexual, or sexualizing. Certainly not as much as quite typical t shirts that I’ve seen that say pretty obscene or racist or violent things.

    As for Kathryn’s discovery that gay people would like to be accepted as full citizens with the right to appear in public without apology–is this really surprising? Kathryn herself would be horrified if her very important identity as a woman, and as a Catholic woman, were considered so problematic that Dollywood asked her to remove a crucifix or a “Jesus loves me/yes I know” t-shirt. She’d rightly ask whether the sensibilities of atheists or buddhists should be used to discriminate against her freedom of expression in a public place.


    • Mr. Wonderful

      There’s a restaurant in Silver Lake, here in L.A., where a lot of the (apparently gay) staff wear t-shirts that say ‘HOMOSEXUALS ARE GAY.’ Think that would pass muster at Dollywood?



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