Sacramento Business Journal - by Mark Anderson Staff writer
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Scott Eckern, artistic director of the California Musical Theatre, is resigning his post and leaving the organization.
A boycott of the theater was called Tuesday by some in the national arts community when news broke that Eckern contributed $1,000 to the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign, which supported the ban on gay marriage.
The measure passed last week.
Scott Eckern said in a prepared release that he chose to express his view through the democratic process, and he was deeply sorry for any harm or injury he caused by doing so.
“I am leaving California Musical Theatre after prayerful consideration to protect the organization and to help the healing in the local theatre-going and creative community,” he said. “I am disappointed that my personal convictions have cost me the opportunity to do what I love the most.”
The board of directors of the California Musical Theatre on Tuesday morning set an emergency meeting for Tuesday afternoon and then later canceled it. The theater company and its board of directors were trying to find a way to react to a boycott called against its theater operations by gay and lesbian artists.
Eckern, a 25-year veteran of the theater company, took over as artistic director in 2002 following the retirement of Leland Ball. Eckern was also the company’s chief operating officer.
Any political contribution of $1,000 or more requires the donor declare home city and occupation.The Web site antigayblacklist.com [note: a BLACKLIST!!! Who's using McCarthy tactics?] published a list based on data by electiontrack.com of anyone who contributed more than $1,000 to the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign. That disclosure led to a surge of calls for a boycott on the theater company, which puts on Music Circus shows, presents the Broadway Series at the Community Center Theatre and is just launching the musical show "Forever Plaid" at the new K Street performing arts venue Cosmopolitan Cabaret.
“I understand that my choice of supporting Proposition 8 has been the cause of many hurt feelings, maybe even betrayal. It was not my intent. I honestly had no idea that this would be the reaction. I chose to act upon my belief that the traditional definition of marriage should be preserved,” he said in his statement. “I support each individual to have rights and access and I understood that in California domestic partnerships come with the same rights that come with marriage. My sister is a lesbian and in a committed domestic partnership relationship. I am loving and supportive of her and her family, and she is loving and supportive of me and my family.”
He goes on to say this is “a highly emotional issue and the accusations that have been made against me are simply not true. I have now had many conversations with friends and colleagues, and I am deeply saddened that my personal beliefs and convictions have offended others. My choice to support the proposition was personal, and does not represent the views and opinions of California Musical Theatre or the many people associated with the organization.”
The theater company's board of directors released a statement about Eckern's resignation: "California Musical Theatre is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated only to the mission of providing quality theatrical productions. 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 views and opinions of its employees do not necessarily represent those of California Musical Theatre."
The board said it appreciated Eckern's years of service.