Pennsylvania Democrat Kicked Out of Christian Band for Supporting Marriage Equality

Bradford County Commissioner Mark Smith is a proud Christian running for Lieutenant Governor in the state of Pennsylvania. He was also the lead guitarist for an up-and-coming Christian rock band — until he publicly announced his support for marriage equality.

Bradford County Commissioner Mark Smith

During his campaign and on Facebook, Smith has been open about supporting same-sex couples’ right to marry. His campaign website reads, in part:

Mark is a strong supporter of marriage equality. Loving families and individuals should not be divided and discriminated against in our great Commonwealth. In Pennsylvania there should be no place for inequality in the eyes of the law.

But that didn’t fly with the members of One Floor Away, the Christian band he’s been a part of since 2011. The band gave him an ultimatum last month, and Smith refused to change his views:

He said he thought the band’s dismissal was “short-sighted,” noting that even some evangelical Christians support equal rights for gays and lesbians. “I’m a liberal Democrat, and I feel we should certain allow people to marry who they please,” Smith said. “Equality is the foundation of this country; it’s not something I’ll back down on.”

He said he asked the band to remove his part from the single it recently released on iTunes and to redub it. “I can’t support them any more than they can support me,” Smith said.

Members of the band have been hesitant to comment to the press, but Smith remains vocal about his commitment to marriage equality, even if it costs him a spot in a group he loves. He recently released a short statement reaffirming his support for equal rights and going as far as to acknowledge the somewhat trivial nature of his predicament:

Being forced out of a band is nothing compared to LGBT couples being told their love is irrelevant and unsanctioned. Progress on this and other issues like education that impact Pennsylvania families every day must be our focus.

If I could vote in Pennsylvania, it’d be for this guy. Maybe being kicked out of your Christian band isn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things — or maybe it is — but this has certainly put Smith under a media spotlight with regards to the very specific issue of gay rights, still a controversial topic in Pennsylvania not to mention with Christian voters.

Despite the sudden press, he held his own and reiterated his support, even if it wasn’t politically convenient. That takes some serious moxie. More power to him.

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