A Christian music festival axed an openly gay singer from its line-up after threats of a volunteer walk-out.
Trey Pearson, lead singer of popular Christian band Everyday Sunday, came out to fans in an emotional letter earlier this summer.
The singer has two children with his wife Lauren, but in his letter explained that after two decades in the closet he was finally able to admit to himself and the world he is gay.
He explained: “I grew up in a Christian home and church, where I was taught that God hated homosexuality, and I could choose to be straight.
“I tried for a really long time. I don’t think I was every trying to lie to anyone, I was trying to convince myself I could be something I wasn’t.”
However, his announcement has not gone down well on the Christian music scene.
Pearson’s band had been booked to appear at three-day Christian music festival Joshua Fest in Quincy, California.
Billboard reports that the band was axed from the line-up after crew members threatened a walkout.
Joshua Fest owner Aaron Diello said he had no choice but to axe Pearson after being told that the majority of the festival’s staff were “going to back out” over the issue.
He admitted: “It really put our back against the wall. This was just under two weeks out from the event. All of our staff are volunteers, and none of us are paid. “
Diello told Billboard: “Everyday Sunday had played almost every year of the festival for the past decade.
“We had booked them for tours, hung out on RV rides after shows… we knew it would be controversial.
“But we also knew that if we were going to claim to be a festival that proclaims the love of Jesus, to everyone, then our friend needed to be included in that proclamation.
“I was hurt. I felt like I was powerless in the situation — like I was just punched in the gut. I was forced to let down a friend, someone that I really wanted to just love and support, the way Jesus tells us to. I was being denied that opportunity, at my own festival. It was a horrible situation.”
Pearson said he did not hold it against the festival owners.
Despite being dropped from the line-up, he still managed to find his way on stage at the event, when another band, Five Iron Frenzy, invited him on stage for a duet.
It is not the first time the Christian music scene has been accused of “excommunicating” a gay singer.
Vicky Beeching was a superstar on the US Christian music scene until she came out as a lesbian in 2014.
The singer has since spoken about being dropped by her label and management as church bookings dried up.