A few months ago, my now-husband and I were involved in helping to organize the United for Marriage rallies at the Supreme Court. Our events, in support of equality for all Americans brought thousands to the steps of the highest court in the land and brought together over 150 different organizations in solidarity.
The first day of the rally, the virulently anti-gay group, The National Organization for Marriage had scheduled a rally to fight marriage equality. Their (sparsely-attended) rally was a topic of much discussion leading up to the events.
In working with GoodAsYou.org’s Jeremy Hooper, we immediately went on the lookout to find out just what they were planning. Jeremy did some incredible work to research the musicians slated to perform at the anti-gay event. One group backed out nearly immediately after being informed of NOM’s history and the truth behind their work. Another group, a band named “Ultramontane” was nowhere to be found. After some further research, we discovered “Ultramontane” was actually just 3 out of the 5 members of the band, Scythian.
As we reported on this and as Scythian quickly removed all their online properties and social media to avoid the frustration of equality-minded fans, the two musicians who’d decided not to take part were left to deal with all the questions. To this day, 2 months later, the three bandmates who refused to do so much as state why they’d decided to support a hate group, have yet to make a public statement.
In the meantime, Josef Crosby and Andrew Toy have publicly and eloquently stated their support for equality.
The band is now back together after taking a bit of a hiatus while this all “blew over.” A rogue fan group upset about the band member’s actions started their own Facebook group. Many who belong to the group are also volunteers for the band’s “Street Team,” selling t-shirts and such at concerts.
It turns out the other three band members made a statement on their Street Team Facebook group back in April. I can’t help but feel a little amazed at how they manage to make themselves out to be victims or martyrs here – although that seems to be the main talking point of anti-gay Christianists nowadays. The truth of the matter is they never actually showed up to perform at the anti-gay rally (something drummer Andrew Toy had no idea of even a week after the event). They explain why:
“First of all, we wanted to let you know that we did not play the March for Marriage. Though still firm in our stance on traditional marriage, based in our deeply held faith as Catholics, upon researching the event, we decided that we did not want to be involved given its highly politically charged nature. Admittedly, there was some naivete involved on our part in accepting to play, and this was all a learning experience for us.
Those of you who civilly disagreed with our stance, we thank you for the respect you accorded us. You are true ambassadors of peace and much needed in this world. And we thank those who have respectfully shown support for us and assured us of their prayers.
We must say that we were deeply saddened by the ugly nature of the attacks leveled at us for expressing our convictions. We were especially alarmed when members of our family fell under these vicious attacks, wherein they were disparaged for their stance and wherein their personal information was disseminated. For this reason, as you might imagine, we were left with no choice but to shut down the main band page as we could not control what was posted. We choose not to respond in kind, and offer our prayers for those people, confident in the hope that love conquers, indeed has conquered all. We can’t help but believe that most of the ugly posts were not made by Scythian fans but by outsiders.
As far as the street team group goes, we wanted to address some of you who felt hurt in the past weeks. Due to the ugliness encountered, the band members stepped away entirely from the medium of Facebook, very much shaken by the ugliness that can be encountered through it. In the weeks since the turn of events, all administrative activity was taken care of by our friend and assistant. If some of you felt marginalized, we sincerely apologize. If there was any offense taken at her actions, please understand that she was in a difficult position, with no playbook in hand, and that if she erred, her actions were motivated from a place of protecting us. She too was shaken by what happened on the main page. We ask you for your understanding and forgiveness.
In all, this was a very disturbing and trying experience for us, and we hope to move on from it. Though tried by this experience, we sincerely believe that people can disagree and still have respect and love for each other. We hope you can understand where we are coming from and help us move on too. Our plan is to get the main Facebook page up and running soon. Stay tuned.”
Keep in mind this message was not sent to fans, but to volunteers they need to help promote their shows and sell their merch. The band has yet to actually publicly address why they chose to align themselves with an anti-gay hate group.