November 12th, 2008
Scott Eckern, the Artistic Director of the California Musical Theater in Sacramento, has not had a good week. On Friday, Jeremy at GoodAsYou noted that Eckern had given $1,000 to the campaign to eliminate marriage rights of – let’s be real – a large percentage of people in Eckern’s business.
This did not sit well with Marc Shaiman, the composer of Hairspray, whose show ended the company’s summer season. He called Eckern and told him:
“The idea that your donation came from a salary that for a short amount of time was drawn from profits from a show I wrote upsets me terribly and I would never allow anything I write to play there and will encourage my colleagues to consider doing the same.”
Several others in the theater world were equally horrified. The theater company found themselves faced with a resentful performers, a black-list from creators, and ill will from much of their audience. I think it’s no secret that those who delight in musical theater – gay or straight – are not likely to have voted in mass for Proposition 8.
Eckern did the honorable (and only possible) thing and resigned his position:
“I am disappointed that my personal convictions have cost me the opportunity to do what I love the most which is to continue enriching the Sacramento arts and theatre community,” he said.
His Mormon Church supported his decision.
I may be a bit cynical but I’m inclined to think that the evidence shows that what he really loved the most was adhering to the anti-gay doctrines of his church. Otherwise he’d still be doing all that enriching.
Well the story isn’t over. Protestors have come out to support him.
“This is a witch-hunt,” said Lance Christensen, who says he’s a regular patron of the theater and took off work to show his support for Eckern. “This man has devoted 25 years of his life to theater in Sacramento.”
Something struck me as a bit – shall we say – untheaterish about this crowd. And guess, what. At least some of them have a little extra something in common with Eckern which they didn’t disclose to the reporter.
Take Lance Christensen, for example. Well it turns out that Lance is an alumnus of Pepperdine and BYU and his linkedin “groups” includes the LDS Church. Oh, and that job he took time from? That would be Director of Legislation for the extremely homophobic California State Senator Tom McClintock.
And then there’s that sign in one picture at the Sacramento Bee saying “We love the Eckern Family”. Gosh, most folks never get a chance to know wife and kids of the Artistic Director at their local musical theater.
Hmmmm. Funny coincidence.
The Chicago Sun-Times indirectly confirms that the “pro-Eckern” rally was not theater-goers but just his friends from church:
“This is not fair – a lot of people wanted this passed, not just Mormons,” said Lynnette Black of Sacramento who rallied in support of Eckern in front of Music Circus last week. “We (church members) worked hard and within the law. It’s very hard to see this attitude toward Mormons.” [emphasis added]
Wouldn’t it be nice if they just told the truth about who they were and why they were there?
In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.
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On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
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