A measure in Tennessee in honor of Osborne Brothers singer TJ Osborne, who recently declared himself gay, was blocked by Republicans in the state House of Representatives, after it was passed unanimously by the Senate.
Rep. Jeremy Faison, Chairman of the Republican House Caucus, is the lawmaker responsible for blocking – and some say, killing – the measure. He cited a procedural objection, although many believe his history of supporting anti-LGBTQ legislation is the most likely reason for him to put the kabosh in the spotlight.
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Osborne country star Kacey Musgraves was among those who expressed dismay, writing on Twitter: “Massively disappointed with Republicans at TN House for blocking my friend @ for being honored for being gay !? “
The Osborne brothers, for their part, tweeted directly to Faison about the snub, suggesting they meet in person.
“We’ve lived in this state for more than half of our lives,” the duo said in a tweet. “@ honored Ben Shapiro who doesn’t even live here. Jeremy, let’s have lunch someday. On us. I would really like to know more about you as a person. “
Blocking the bill in the House on Tuesday, Faison initially said simply, “We have concerns about this RLS, and I would like to send it back to naming and naming.” When asked to explain what was “the source of these concerns”, the legislator replied: “This was not heard in committee, and I think it must be.”
In response, a Democratic lawmaker, Rep. Antonio Parkinson (D-Memphis), reacted in disbelief, saying, “A lot of RLS are not heard in committees and we vote on them. In fact, we voted on a few of them today. … Country music artist TJ Osborne? We’re talking about a country music singer, all of you. Let’s go. “
Tennessee Holler, a progressive account who shared a video of the exchange on the floor, noted that “the resolution is being sent to a committee that has closed for the year.
Maren Morris, who had the Osborne brothers collaborate on “All My Favorite People” on their latest album, retweeted the tweet from Tennessee Holler, which read: “@ JeremyFaison4TN and the @tnhousegop blocking a resolution to honor gay country music star TJ Osborne from @brothersosborne for no reason other than blatant fanaticism and grudge. He passed the Senate 30-0. So much hatred in our state.
The tabled bill, Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 609, states that “although TJ Osborne is not the first country music artist to go gay, he is the first and currently the only openly gay artist signed on a great country label ”and adds that“ although this may have been simply a consequence of being true to himself, he has nonetheless become a pioneer and a symbol of hope for artists and country music fans who have been able to be ostracized from a kind that is close to their hearts. ”
Much to the chagrin of Nashville’s large gay community and the country music industry, Tennessee has become famous across the country in recent years for legislatures such as the so-called “Adoption Bill.” anti-gay ”, which authorized religious placement and adoption agencies. to continue to receive public funds regardless of discrimination against prospective homosexual parents. It was promulgated by Republican Gov. Bill Lee in January 2020.
More recently, Bill HB529 underwent a nationwide review to require school districts to give one month’s notice before any program involving sexual orientation, to allow students with opposing families to withdraw – a decision which some say could lead to the crushing of teaching on subjects. as basic as classic English literature.
In April, more than 40 companies associated with Nashville’s music industry signed an open letter to members of the Tennessee General Assembly, claiming that a number of bills under consideration were “misguided and would codify discrimination ”against LGBTQ Tennesseans.
Among the bills under consideration, in addition to the bill to exclude from school curricula, are laws described as “toilet bills” or regulating trans athletes in women’s sport. The open letter pointed out that the music industry is responsible for $ 5.8 billion of the state’s annual economy and 61,000 jobs. Among the dozens of signatories offering a more “open, welcoming and inclusive” environment and predicting the “dire” consequences of a bill list were Apple, Big Loud, Big Machine, CMT, Curb Records, Kobalt Music, Maverick Management, Q Prime South, Sony Music Nashville, Spotify, Third Man Records, Universal Music Group Nashville, Warner Chappell Nashville, and Warner Music.
In 2012, Faison courted national controversy when he argued against a cyberbullying bill after a wave of suicides among LGBTQ and other young people, saying “they didn’t kill themselves because someone one intimidated them. They committed suicide because they weren’t taught the principles from which their self-esteem came at home. “
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