NO TEE, NO SHADE

Nashville Club Fires Staffer Wearing “I Support Same-Sex Marriage” Shirt

I-Support-Same-Sex-Marriage_f_improf_321x321We usually think of rock clubs as anything-goes kind of places, but the owners of Nashville’s Rocketown won’t let endorsing marriage equality slide.

According to Hostage Calm guitarist Chris “Cmar” Martin, a friend of the band, Wes Breedwell, was fired from his job at Rocketown for wearing Hostage Calm’s “I Support Same-Sex Marriage” tee shirt.

What I heard from him was a long pattern of discrimination against him for not being Christian and for supporting marriage equality.

Rocketown is a Christian-owned non-profit community center and venue: not a church. And yet, over the seven years he has worked there, he’s been denied opportunities for advancement and salary based on his non-Christian beliefs. Today, Rocketown fired him for wearing this shirt commemorating equality (along with his non-Christian activity on social-media pages).

Wes emphasized that employees routinely wear band shirts at Rocketown. So why did this shirt cause such a problem?

This shirt represents an idea that all people have the right to live their lives without being told who to love and whose love is more valuable. It represents equality under the law. It represents the freedom to choose.

In a complaint form Breedwell provided, his manager insisted “you cannot wear a shirt to work on an office day or a show day supporting same sex marriage” and criticized him for presenting beliefs that “contradict the mission.”

The 40,000-square-foot club, coffee bar and skatepark was opened as an all-ages hangout by Christian artist Michael W Smith in 1994. While there’s always been Jesus-lovin’ in Rocketown—including Christian bands and skate church—artists as varied as Prince, Death Cab For Cutie and Panic! At The Disco have all performed there.

Martin says Hostage Calm is calling for a boycott of Rocketland, and the story is drawing negative attention across the Web. So far, though, the club hasn’t issued  public response.

Photo: Wes Breedwell via Twitter