May 4, 2021 – WZTV by: Jackie DelPilar – Equality advocates say some Tennessee lawmakers are discriminating against the LGBTQ community by blocking a resolution to honor country music star TJ Osborne of the band Brothers Osborne. The resolution honors the artist for his contributions to the state and his courage in coming out as the first openly gay country musician.
A resolution to congratulate and honor the musician passed unanimously in the Senate. But some GOP members in the House of Representatives didn’t support it. Rep. Jeremy Faison motioned to send the bill back to committee rather than move it forward, saying in a hearing he ‘has some concerns on this.’
But this type of honorary resolution is rarely rejected or discussed in committees. Just this session they passed similar resolutions for conservative commentators Ben Shapiro and Candace Owens.
Rep. John Ray Clemmons, who co-sponsored this resolution, says at least one Republican lawmaker approached him before the hearing to tell him exactly why he doesn’t support it. “One of them come over and said to me I object to this because he’s gay,” Clemmons said. “That’s it, plain and simple.”
FOX 17 News asked who that lawmaker was. “I’m not going to give up any names, it was said by one individual, but the sentiment was felt by many, they all voted to send it back to committee which essentially kills it,” Clemmons said.
The Brothers Osborne responded in a tweet—inviting Faison to have lunch and get to know one another. Faison replied to the tweet saying “I would be honored to break bread with you.” Faison did not respond to requests from FOX 17 News.
A press liaison for the House Republicans said he was headed to the house floor; the same meeting as Clemmons, who made time to speak with us.
“I’m embarrassed for the state of Tennessee. This isn’t a reflection on TJ Osborne, this is a reflection on us as a state legislature,” Clemmons said.
Sixty-three representatives voted in favor of sending the resolution back to committee.
A publicist from Brothers Osborne said they were not available for comment.