If they don’t get sung in the mega-churches of North America, my royalties basically stop.So the cost of me speaking up about equal marriage is, essentially, my salary.
While not possible in the Church of England due to the “quadruple lock” that’s in place, same-sex couples can now legally marry in a variety of settings, including some places of worship.
I first spoke out in support of this during a Radio 2 interview with Clare Balding back in December of last year.
But the experience of living and working in the Bible-belt world was a fascinating and formative one, regularly playing my songs to audiences of 15-20 thousand people at live events and contributing to many faith-based TV and radio shows. Moving to the States with just a suitcase and a guitar, I’m grateful that today my songs are among the most popular in mega-churches across North America, have charted in Billboard Magazine and featured in the Top 25 ‘most sung per week’ in the USA (measured by a reporting system called CCLI).
So I want to take this chance to say “THANK YOU” from the bottom of my heart, to all in the States who support me and my work. I say all of that to give context to why I have been so afraid to stand up for equal marriage; I knew not only my conservative friends and relatives in the UK would be unhappy, but also the large base of people in the States who have followed my work for the past decade. So speaking up about this has not been without great thought and personal cost.
And because I spent the past decade living and working in American media, based mainly in the super-conservative “Bible-belt”.
If you know anything about American Christian culture, you’ll know it’s a huge operation/industry with a massive presence.Hopefully that emphasises that I am not just ‘appealing to culture’ or ‘trying to be popular’ as many conservative Christians are concluding.I’m saddened that many conservative and evangelical Christians have been so quick to write me off, emailing that “this means goodbye – deleting you from my social networks”. So even if you strongly disagree with my stand on this topic, please journey with me and hear why and how I’ve come to these conclusions.Over the past few months I’ve been increasingly raising my voice in support of same-sex marriage – or “equal marriage” as I’ll call it from here on.Many of my blog readers are from outside the UK, so in case any of you weren’t aware, on 29th March 2014 England and Wales saw equal marriage become a legal reality.My comments were very brief, but I said I believed that Christians didn’t have to choose between respecting the Bible and/or supporting equal marriage.