State Watch

Tennessee Republicans block measure honoring gay country star TJ Osborne

GOP lawmakers blocked a measure in the state’s House of Representatives honoring Brothers Osborne singer TJ Osborne, who recently came out as gay. 

The resolution, which would commend Osborne for becoming 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,” was referred to a committee on Monday after the state House voted 63-23 in favor of the move.

The referral, led by state Rep. Jeremy Faison (R), only received support from GOP lawmakers. He told his colleagues in a Monday session that the resolution “wasn’t heard in committee, and I feel like it needs to be.”

The move immediately received criticism from several Democratic state lawmakers, including John Ray Clemmons, who co-sponsored the legislation in the state House. 

Clemmons on Monday noted that the Senate passed the resolution unanimously and warned, “I think if it goes back to committee, I don’t think it’s going to come back to the House floor.”

State Rep. Antonio Parkinson (D) also argued that House lawmakers vote on “a lot” of Senate resolutions that do not make their way through state House committees. 

“We’re talking about a country music singer y’all, come on,” Parkinson said on Tuesday during the House’s session. 

The Brothers Osborne, the band made up of TJ Osborne and John Osborne, shared a video of the proceeding on Twitter, arguing that “We’ve lived in this state for over half of our lives. @JeremyFaison4TN honored Ben Shapiro who doesn’t even live here.” 

“Jeremy, let’s have lunch one day. On us. Would really like to know more about you as a person,” they continued.

Faison earlier this year backed legislation to honor The Daily Wire, which was co-founded by conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, moving its headquarters to Tennessee. He responded to the musicians on Tuesday, saying that he would “be honored to break bread with you.”

The Tuesday move was also criticized by other country music stars. Kacey Musgraves on Twitter shared that she was “massively disappointed” in the state house.

Osborne publicly came out as gay earlier this year, becoming the only openly gay artist signed to a major country music label.

Tags Country music Tennessee
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