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.

About Camille Beredjick

Camille is a twentysomething working in the LGBT nonprofit industry. She runs an LGBT news blog at gaywrites.org.

  • Paul I

    I do live in pennsylvania, and he may have just earned my vote. More so because he didn’t pander to his party, or to his religion. Yeah, also for the equality.

  • Rain

    Wow they sound sound like my old band. So in others words, they’re not up-and-coming. Although they will get more youtube hate views now that they are infamous. Justin Beiebers has nearly a billion youtube hate views.

  • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

    I don’t live in Bradford County, but I applaud his guts. It ain’t easy being blue in some areas of the state, so it took guts to stick to his guns.

  • Sue Blue

    It’s great that he supports equality. As far as the Christian band thing is concerned…he’s better off not lending his name and talents to producing crappy music for Jesus. Now if he could just forgo the religion entirely…

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

      nah, let him come to his own conclusions. this won’t be the last time a “christian” poops on him for acting… like a Christian!

      he’ll either: decide that “hey, dood. i don’t need a “christian” band, club, group, church or anything else that forces me to smile and be nice to people who hate me for walking in the steps of Christ. i don’t need a book filled with myth, hate and contradiction. i can rely on my own understanding, and my faith. i can be certain that if i do good works, keep my faith, and pray all by myself, God will see and hear me, and know i am sincere.

      or

      start down the road to atheism, after the 100th time of being told “you’re not xtian enough because you…(helped somebody we hate).”

      i think he’ll choose the former.

  • SeekerLancer

    Going to be moving out of state or he would have had my vote.

  • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

    does he still think homosexuality is a sin? If he does, then I’m not not supporting him.

    • liu

      I would. Having the maturity and honesty to realize that personal views should not influence public policy is something I very much respect.

      • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_Pink_Unicorn Anna

        I would, too. When it comes to public officials, I have no desire to police their private thoughts. As long as they are able to separate their religion from their job, I have no problem voting for them.

  • abraham.lincoln.in.quran

    Read the story of Abraham Lincoln in Quran (words of the God) since more than 1400 years ago
    The miracle

    http://abrahamlincolninquran.blogspot.ae/
    http://abrahamlincolninquran.blogspot.com

  • roberthughmclean

    C’mon, are there really up and coming christian bands? That’s a bit like a full catholic church every Sunday, doesn’t happen.


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