California Musical Theatre’s artistic director, Scott Eckern, resigned from his post today amid controversy over a donation he made to the Proposition 8 campaign to ban gay marriage. Eckern gave $1,000 in support of Proposition 8, a donation that sparked criticism from theater workers and the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. “We have released a statement that Scott resigned,” said Chris McSwain, community affairs director for the theater company. He declined to comment further. According to the statement, the theater company’s board of directors received notice today from executive producer Richard Lewis saying that Eckern has resigned. The theater company is a nonprofit organization “dedicated only to the mission of providing quality theatrical productions,” the statement reads. At no time does it involve itself in political issues or ever impinge on the rights of its employees to engage in political activities of their choice,” the statement reads.The organization said the views and opinions of its employees do not necessarily represent those of the California Musical Theatre. The board also thanked Eckern for “25 years of invaluable service to the organization and the advancement of musical theatre as an art form.”Eckern also released a statement today saying that he quit “after prayerful consideration to protect the organization and to help the healing in the local theatre-going and creative community.” Eckern said that he “honestly had no idea” that the contribution would spark such outrage and made the donation to act on his belief as the traditional definition of marriage be preserved. “I support each individual to have rights and access, and I understand that in California domestic partnerships come with the same rights that come with marriage,” he said.Eckern said his sister is a lesbian in a committed relationship and he loves her and is supportive of her and her family, just as she is of him and his family. “I definitely do not support any message or treatment of others that is hateful or instills fear,” he said. “This is a highly emotional issue and the accusations that have been made against me are simply not true.”Eckern said he enjoyed his tenure with the California Musical Theatre and respects the people at the organization and in the theatrical community. “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.
What the hell was this guy doing in musical theater for the last 25 years? How is it that his anti-gay attitude only now came up? Weird. Anyway, you might be amused by Eckern’s alumnus page on the Brigham Young University site.
“It is a privilege and a responsibility to represent the values of BYU and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is life after school. And it is fulfilling and wonderful as we are ever mindful that we are to serve the Lord in all that we do. No matter the audience, no matter the means by which you tell the story, as artists who are faithful Latter-day Saints we can win their hearts, and in so doing lead them to believe. In the sacred name of Jesus Christ. Amen.”