A resolution honoring gay country singer T.J. Osborne was blocked by Republicans in Tennessee’s House of Representatives after passing unanimously through the state’s Senate.
Rep. Jeremy Faison, chair of the House Republican Caucus, stymied the bill praising The Brothers Osborne singer, who came out in a February Time interview as a “trailblazer” in a historically homophobic music genre. According to Variety, the conservative cited a procedural objection during the House vote on Senate Joint Resolution 609 on Tuesday as reasoning.
“We have some concerns on this SJR, and I’d like to send it back to naming and designating,” Faison said about the resolution. The move killed the resolution because the referenced committee will not meet again this year.
Rep. Antonio Parkinson, a Democrat, objected to Faison’s motion, citing its peculiar existence. “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,” he said before adding, “The country music artist, T.J. Osborne? We’re talking about a country music singer, y’all. C’mon.”
Several right-wing media personalities such as non-Tennessee resident Ben Shapiro, Candace Owens, and Tomi Lahren have won similar honors without incident.
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. https://t.co/S8YyXw817f
— Jon Cooper 🇺🇸 (@joncoopertweets) May 6, 2021
Critics accuse Faison of anti-LGBTQ+ motivations because of his advocacy for anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, such as the recent transgender athlete ban.
“Massively disappointed in TN House Republicans for blocking my friend @TJOsborne for being honored because HE’S GAY!?” tweeted Kacey Musgraves, a country musician, and LGBTQ+ ally.
Maren Morris retweeted that the block took place “for no reason other than blatant bigotry and spite. It passed the senate 30-0. So much hate in our state.”
The language of SJR 609 states 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.” It declares him to be “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.”
The Brothers Osborne Twitter account acknowledged the injustice after Faison blocked SJR 609, but also extended an olive branch to the Republicans.
“Jeremy, let’s have lunch one day. On us. Would really like to know more about you as a person,” the account stated. To which Faison replied, “I would be honored to break bread with you.”‘
Aside from the stalled bill, Osborne and Faison could look at a number of other issues, such as three anti-transgender bills that were recently sent to the governor. Tennessee is often in the news for anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, such as a bill signed by Gov. Bill Lee in 2020 that permitted faith-based adoption agencies to discriminate against same-sex couples without losing government funding.
Lee has signed the trans athlete ban into law this year, as well as a bill that requires public schools to notify parents of any lessons that address sexual orientation or gender identity and allow them to opt their children out without consequences.