Rich Raddon, the director of the Los Angeles Film Festival (LAFF), has been the centre of a local firestorm in his hometown after it emerged last week that he had donated $1,500 to the campaign for Yes On 8, the statewide proposition which was narrowly passed on Nov 4, eliminating same-sex marriage rights in the state of California.

Raddon, who is a Mormon, is one of the senior executives at Film Independent, the non-profit membership organization which according to its mission statement is 'dedicated to increasing diversity in the film industry.' Film Independent also organises the Independent Spirit Awards, has several gay and lesbian employees and works closely with film-makers from the GLBT community.

But while Raddon reportedly proferred his resignation late last week, the Film Independent board refused to accept it, instead issuing the following statement: 'As a champion of diversity, Film Independent is dedicated to supporting the civil rights of all individuals. At the same time, our organization does not police the personal, religious, or political choices of any employee, member, or filmmaker.'

Emotions are running high in the state after the proposition was passed even after the Republican-led state Supreme Court had declared such a ban unconstitutional earlier in the year. The GLBT community nationwide sees the ban as a civil rights issue and hundreds of thousands of people marched in cities across the US on Saturday in protest of the ban. The Yes On 8 campaign was largely orchestrated and financed by the Mormon and Catholic churches.

In the immediate wake of the marriage ban, it emerged that Scott Eckern, the artistic director of the California Music Theatre had donated $1,000 to the Yes On 8 campaign. He subsequently resigned.

Hairspray composer Marc Shaiman was instrumental in bringing attention to the Eckern donation, saying in an e-mail that 'the idea that money from his salary that was, in a small way, made from a production of Hairspray had now been put to use to pass this bigoted Proposition truly hurt and sickened me, and no future project of mine will ever play his theatre.'

Meanwhile opposition in the arts community to the proposition has focused attention on the Sundance Film Festival which is held in the state of Utah, home state of the Mormon church. Much attention is being given to the idea of a boycott of the festival held in Park City, especially now that it has emerged that Alan Stock, CEO of cinema chain Cinemark, donated nearly $10,000 to Yes On 8. The festival uses several of the Cinemark theatres in Park City as venues for its screenings.