GOP Tennessee Lawmaker Blocks Resolution Honoring Gay Country Music Star
A Republican lawmaker in Tennessee with an anti-LGBTQ record has blocked a measure honoring gay country star TJ Osborne.
“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,” Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 609 states. “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.”
State Representative Jeremy Faison, who chairs the Republican Caucus in the Tennessee House, claimed that the resolution did not pass through the proper committee channels before being brought to the floor for a vote.
Faison said on Tuesday that “we have some concerns on this SJR, and I’d like to send it back to naming and designating,” adding that “the source of those concerns was that “it wasn’t heard in committee, and I feel like it needs to be.”
Some of Faison’s Democratic colleagues quickly called him out for being a homophobic hypocrite, noting that SJRs are frequently allowed to bypass legislative committees.
“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,” said State Representative Antonio Parkinson, a Democrat who represents Memphis. “The country music artist, TJ Osborne? We’re talking about a country music singer, y’all. C’mon.”
Faison is no stranger to making discriminatory and offensive remarks about LGBTQ Americans. In 2012, he opposed a bill that would have extended cyberbullying protections to LGBTQ youth.
Faison said at the time 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.”