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Tennessee House GOP Slammed After Blocking Vote On Resolution To Honor Gay Country Star

Tennessee House GOP Slammed After Blocking Vote On Resolution To Honor Gay Country Star
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Republicans in Tennessee's House of Representatives blocked a measure that would honor gay singer, TJ Osborne—of the award-winning duo, Brothers Osborne—even though it passed in the Senate 30 - 0.

In February, Osborne became the first mainstream country singer signed to a major country music label to publicly come out as gay while in the prime of his career.

The announcement was a historically significant one considering the music genre remains deeply rooted in conservatism and Christianity.

According to Variety, Republican Representative Jeremy Faison, who is the chair of the state's House Republican Caucus, was responsible for "effectively killing" the measure since the committee has closed for the year.

The tabled legislation, Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 609, stated that:

"Though T.J. Osborne is not the first country music artist to come out as gay, he is the first and currently only openly gay artist signed to a major country label."

The resolution added:

"Though it may have been merely a consequence of being true to himself, he has nonetheless become a trailblazer and a symbol of hope for those country music artists and fans alike who may have become ostracized from a genre they hold dear."

Faison cited a procedural objection.

However, people believed the conservative lawmaker's long history of supporting anti-LGBTQ+ legislation was the real reason for blocking the motion.

On Tuesday, he told the House floor while blocking SJR 609:

"We have some concerns on this SJR, and I'd like to send it back to naming and designating."

But when Faison was asked to elaborate on the "source of those concerns," he responded:

"It wasn't heard in committee, and I feel like it needs to be."

Democratic Representative Antonio Parkinson of Memphis argued the House had already voted on several bills earlier in the day that had not gone through committee and were not blocked.

He said:

"A lot of SJRs are not heard in committees and we vote on 'em. We voted on a couple of them today, as a matter of fact. … The country music artist, TJ Osborne? We're talking about a country music singer, y'all. C'mon."

The Tennessee Holler shared a video of the interchange and noted in the clip:

"the resolution is sent to a committee that has closed for the year."

Brothers Osborne—which consists of TJ Osborne (lead vocals, rhythm guitar) and his brother, John Osborne (lead guitar, background vocals)—directly addressed Faison on Twitter and invited him to a discussion.

"We've lived in this state for over half of our lives. @JeremyFaison4TN honored Ben Shapiro who doesn't even live here," the duo's account tweeted.

"Jeremy, let's have lunch one day. On us. Would really like to know more about you as a person."

Fellow country singer Kasey Musgraves, a vocal LGBTQ+ ally, took to Twitter to express her frustration, saying:

"Massively disappointed in TN House Republicans for blocking my friend @TJOsborne for being honored because HE'S GAY!?"

More support for the singer poured in.

In 2012, Faison argued against a cyberbullying bill after a reported increase in the number of suicides among LGBTQ youth. He said the real reason they died by suicide was because the parents did not instill "proper principles."

"We can't continue to legislate everything," Faison said.

"We've had some horrible things happen in America and in our state, and there's children that have actually committed suicide, but I will submit to you today that they did not commit suicide because of somebody bullying them."
"They committed suicide because they were not instilled the proper principles of where their self-esteem came from at home."