An employee at a Christian music club in Nashville, Tenn., says he was fired Monday for wearing a shirt with a pro-same-sex marriage message.
Wes Breedwell, a former employee at Christian venue Rocketown, posted a picture of the offending T-shirt to Twitter on Monday, and it quickly made the rounds of social media sites.
The image (via Imgur):
Breedwell's shirt is produced and sold by a Connecticut-based punk band called Hostage Calm.
Hostage Calm guitarist Chris “Cmar” Martin posted a statement about Breedwell on the band's website:
Today, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a longtime supporter of Hostage Calm and marriage equality was fired from his job at the Nashville music venue, Rocketown, for wearing his ‘I Support Same-Sex Marriage’ shirt to work. A friend from Nashville contacted me about the situation and told me of Wes Breedwell, this seven-year employee of Rocketown who now finds himself the victim of discrimination.
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.
In addition, the band emailed AltPress a picture of the complaint form allegedly given to Breedwell by his supervisor.
"You cannot wear a shirt to work on an office day or a show day supporting same sex marriage," the form appears to read. "It is imperative that our beliefs are not personal or presented @ work that contradict the mission."
Jacquelyn Marushka, publicist for Rocketown's founder Michael W. Smith, issued a statement regarding the incident Monday night, according to the Tennessean.
"Rocketown does not comment on personnel issues, but, generally speaking, an employee would not be fired for expressing opinions on marriage," 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."
Queerty notes that the 40,000 square-foot venue -- a combination club, coffee bar and skate park -- was opened by Smith in 1994. It has since hosted numerous religious and secular events. A wide range of artists, including Prince and Panic! At The Disco, have performed at the venue.
According to the Human Rights Council, there is no federal law protecting individuals from firing based on sexual orientation. Twenty-nine states, including Tennessee, have not enacted laws that protect gay and lesbians from workplace discrimination.
In fact, most employees in the United States can be fired for any reason, excluding matters pertaining to the employee's race, color, religion, sex or national origin. California, New York, Connecticut, Colorado and Mississippi are the only states that have additional laws prohibiting firings based on political affiliation.