Country legend Dolly Parton says she believes same-sex couples should have the right to marry in a recent interview with British LGBT magazine Event, Gay Star News points out.
"I think everyone should be with whom they love," the singer, who has been a longtime supporter of LGBT rights, told the publication. "I don’t want to be controversial or stir up a bunch of trouble but people are going to love who they are going to love.
"I think gay couples should be allowed to marry. They should suffer just like us heterosexuals," she added.
Parton married her husband Carl Dean in 1966, but the couple has been plagued by rumors that Parton is actually in a relationship with her childhood friend Judy Ogle, the British newspaper the Daily Mail reports.
In a recent interview with the Mail, writer Sarfraz Manzoor, who interviewed Parton, says Ogle "quietly" sits in "on her own during our conversation," and then cites a passage from Parton’s autobiography "My Life And Other Unfinished Business" about Ogle.
"Most people can’t understand two women being so close and devoted to each other. We’ve never been lovers, just good old pure sweet fun-loving friends," the musician wrote.
Parton, whose 42nd studio album "Blue Smoke" was released in January, told the Mail that if she were gay, she’d be lucky to have Ogle as a partner.
"I didn’t know any gay people in my childhood. I do have a lot of gays in my family now, but some will never come out," Parton said.
The country star first announced her support for gay marriage in 2009. As the Advocate reported, Parton appeared on "The Joy Behar Show," and when asked if she is "pro-gay marriage," she said:
"I know that’s true. I always say, ’Sure, why can’t they get married? They should suffer like the rest of us do.’"
Parton’s Dollywood theme park holds an annual "Gay Day" event for her gay following.