Republican lawmakers in Tennessee are drawing criticism after blocking a resolution honoring out gay country music singer TJ Osborne in the state’s House of Representatives.
A group of GOP legislators led by state Rep. Jeremy Faison referred the measure, which passed in the House by a 63-23 margin, to a committee Monday, citing that he felt “like it needs to be” heard in a committee for review. “We have some concerns,” Faison said without citing what those specific concerns were. The Tennessee Holler pointed out that the committee Faison wants the measure sent to is closed for the year.
The measure’s co-sponsor, state Rep. John Ray Clemons, expressed concern about its future if it goes to a committee. “I think if it goes to committee, I don’t think it’s going to come back to the House floor,” Clemons told The Hill.
TJ and his brother, John Osborne, responded to Faison’s statement on social media pointing out Faison’s hypocrisy. “We’ve lived in this state for over half our lives. [Faison] honored Ben Shapiro who doesn’t even live here,” the band tweeted. The brothers’ comments refer to Faison supporting similar legislation earlier this year honoring Shapiro’s decision to relocate the headquarters of The Daily Wire to Tennessee.
The resolution, which passed unanimously in the state Senate, honors Osborne, one half of popular country duo Brothers Osborne, for being a “trailblazer and a symbol of hope for those country music artists and fans alike who may have felt ostracized from a genre they hold dear.” Osborne became the first out gay musician signed to a major country music label when he came out in February.
“A lot of SJRs are not heard in committees and we vote on them. We voted on a couple of them today, as a matter of fact,” said state Rep. Antonio Parkinson in response to Faison’s request. State Rep. Gloria Johnson offered similar thoughts on Twitter, saying that ten country music artists were honored in a similar fashion to what was proposed for Osborne last week “with no questions.”
“I am so disgusted with the bigotry in the [Tennessee] GOP,” Johnson said. “Tonight the [Tennessee] GOP refused top hear a resolution honoring a country musician because he is gay.” The passage of a resolution Wednesday honoring conservative pundit Tomi Lauren for moving to Tennessee drew further criticism for the treatment of the resolution honoring Osborne
The Osbornes also invited Faison to have lunch with them, stating they “would really like to know more about you as a person.” Faison seemingly accepted the offer, saying he “would be honored to break bread” with them.
Screenshot via YouTube/CBS Sunday Morning