A man who had worked for seven years at a Christian-owned youth outreach facility and music venue was fired on Martin Luther King Jr. Day after wearing a t-shirt with a pro-gay message.
Wes Breedwell, an employee at Rocketown, in Nashville, Tennessee posted on Instagram a photo of the t-shirt he was wearing when he was laid off. The image shows a t-shirt from the Connecticut-based punk band Hostage Calm, with the message reading “I Support Same-Sex Marriage.”
“Got fired from Rocketown today. Social media is what did it. So here is a picture to show my support for equality and free speech including social media. Cheers to my friends for having my back through all of this. #sevenyears,” Breedwell wrote alongside the image on Jan. 21.
Music blog Property of Zack posted what looks to be Breedwell’s letter of termination, which cites “lack of judgment” as reason for firing the seven-year employee.
Hostage Calm vocalist Chris “Cmar” Martin wrote a letter about the incident on the band’s website. On it, he promises to “never play Rocketown again.”
“What I heard from him was a long pattern of discrimination against him for not being Christian and for supporting marriage equality … It’s important to note that they didn’t fire him for wearing A SHIRT. They fired him because of what that shirt stands for. For what that shirt threatens,” Cmar wrote.
The band is politically active and supportive of gay rights. In 2011, they released their first album “Hostage Calm,” for free for every person who signed and sent a letter to New York senators in favor of gay marriage, according to an interview with Gay Nerds.
Hostage Calm is currently working with gay rights organization Equality Maryland to bring same-sex marriage to the state.
Cmar continued on his letter: “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 … So how could a youth center not support such a vital, foundational understanding of human freedom and equality as part of their social mission?”
The punk band has said they’ll “continue to post more information as Wes and H.C. take further action.”
“A youth center and music venue cannot be a positive force in the community if it degrades and belittles the value of some of our people based on sexual orientation or gender identity. That is the force that tears communities apart, not that enriches them,” he concluded.