Tenn. Sales Clerk Claims Marriage-Equality T-Shirt Got Him Fired
Officials from a Christian music venue located in Nashville have allegedly fired an employee after he showed up to work wearing a pro-gay marriage T-shirt, the (Nashville) Tennessean reports.
Wes Breedwell took to Instagram on Monday afternoon and wrote, "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." According to the Tennessean, Breedwell, who believes he was discriminated against, has been an employee of Rocketown for seven years.
Rocketown is a music venue and Christian outreach facility in Nashville for teens. According to the establishment’s website, their mission is to offer "hope to the next generation through Christ’s love" and "to be the place of peace, purpose and possibilities for youth."
The T-shirt in question came from a Connecticut-based punk band called Hostage Calm and reads, "I SUPPORT SAME-SEX MARRIAGE."
A music news blogsite, Property of Zack, reportedly obtained a write-up from the Rocketown’s owner that stated why Breedwell had been fired: "You cannot wear a shirt to work on an office day or a show day supporting same sex marriage," the document reads. "It is imperative that our beliefs are not personal or presented @ work that contradict the mission. Future action will be based on the action but will include suspension or termination."
In a statement, a band member from Hostage Calm condemned the firing. "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," Cmar, a member of the band wrote. "It represents equality under the law. It represents the freedom to choose."
A spokesperson for the music venue’s founder, Michael W. Smith, issued a statement as well that did not directly address the issue. Instead, it only maintained that the company did not discriminate against gay employees, which, it should be noted, is not at issue in Breedwell’s case.
"Rocketown does not comment on personnel issues, but, generally speaking, an employee would not be fired for expressing opinions on marriage," Jacquelyn Marushka said. "At Rocketown we are welcoming and accepting of all youth. We reach out to all kids, are inclusive and very much care about acceptance of youth from different ethnicities, sexual orientations, financial backgrounds and religions. Our mission is to provide a safe and drug-free environment where kids are welcomed, accepted and loved."
In fact, Breedwell is, as the Tennessee group pointed out, a straight ally of gay rights.