Republicans in Tennessee's House of Representatives blocked a measure to honor openly gay country star TJ Osborne, who is one half of the group Brothers Osborne, after it had unanimously passed the Senate.
State Rep. Jeremy Faison, chair of the House Republican Caucus who on Tuesday cited a procedural objection when blocking the bill, now faces backlash for the decision. Among his critics is country star Kacey Musgraves.
"Massively disappointed in TN House Republicans for blocking my friend @TJOsborne for being honored because HE’S GAY!?" she tweeted.
Brothers Osborne meanwhile took to social media following the announcement to call for a meeting with Faison.
"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," a tweet by the band read.
The post featured a video by The Tennessee Holler of an interchange between Faison and Democrat legislator Rep. Antonio Parkinson, D-Memphis, on the House floor.
Faison explained that there were "concerns" about the measure.
"I'd like to send it back to naming and designation," he added.
When asked to elaborate on those concerns, Faison said, "It wasn’t heard in committee, and I feel like it needs to be."
Parkinson responded by pointing out that "a lot of SJRs are not heard in committees" and they were voted on.
"We vote on ’em. We voted on a couple of them today, as a matter of fact," he said. "The country music artist, TJ Osborne? We’re talking about a country music singer, y’all. C’mon."
Osborne revealed that he is gay during a February interview with Time.
"I find myself being guarded for not wanting to talk about something that I personally don't have a problem with. That feels so strange," he said.
The singer came out as gay to his close friends and family years ago and, although he said he was "very comfortable being gay," he was afraid of alienating fans who may be less forgiving to people who hold different values to theirs.
"People will ask, 'Why does this even need to be talked about?' and, personally, I agree with that. But for me to show up at an awards show with a man would be jaw-dropping to people. It wouldn't be like, 'Oh, cool!'" he explained. "I don't think I'm going to get run off the stage in Chicago, but in a rural town playing a county fair? I'm curious how this will go."
Despite his apprehension, Osborne received a flood of support from the public. Speaking during an appearance on "CBS This Morning," he admitted that, if he had known the reaction would have been so positive, he would have come out much sooner.
"Had I known that the whole time, I would have done it probably a long time ago and saved myself a lot of strife. Anyone out there, if you're dealing with that, there's people that love you and people that support you. Lots of them," he said, according to Billboard.
"It has been a tsunami of love, almost to the point it was hard for me to even comprehend it for several days," he added.
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