The Log Cabin Republicans of Tennessee, a group for gay conservatives, has put out a snarky press release about the state legislature's blocking of a resolution honoring out country music star T.J. Osborne, a member of the Brothers Osborne.
Senate Joint Resolution 609, which sought to honor Osborne as the only out country star currently signed to a major label and a source of hope to artists and fans who've felt ostracized by the genre, was approved unanimously by the state's Senate unanimously but was blocked in the House of Representatives last week by Rep. Jeremy Faison, chair of the body's Republican caucus, who sent it to a committee that won't meet again this year. Faison's move means the resolution won't pass.
But the resolution is "sappy ... and gay," the Tennessee Log Cabin organization said in a press release that's currently the pinned tweet on its Twitter account. "Gay media is fainting with shock like Nathan Lane in The Bird Cage" over Faison's action, the release said, adding, "Zut alors! Someone bring the smelling salts."
\u201cRepresentative @JeremyFaison4TN was right to question whether every celebrity who comes out as gay deserves a pat on the back from the TN Legislature. Legislative sessions are NOT coming out parties. \n@brothersosborne @Tennessean @tnhousegop @tnsenategop @CSexton25 @ltgovmcnally\u201d
— Log Cabin Republicans of Tennessee (@Log Cabin Republicans of Tennessee)
Log Cabin claimed the resolution wasn't honoring Osborne's "career and gifts" but was saluting him simply for coming out, which he did in February. "None of us got resolutions when we came out -- and we were a lot younger than Osborne," the release said. "Don't expect rainbow confetti and a ticker tape parade just for liking boys, hunty. Shut up and sing."
The release also lists other out country stars, noting that Osborne "may be the biggest, but he's not the first. ... Osborne being gay is honestly not that historic, and no one is even mad about it. We just like ... don't care." It went on to call Faison, whom the Brothers Osborne have invited to lunch, "a total Daddy."
The resolution does, however, make clear the historic nature of Osborne's coming-out. "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 reads. It calls him "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 Tennessee Holler, a progressive social media account, accused Faison of blocking the resolution out of "blatant bigotry and spite." Several other social media users, including country star Kacey Musgraves, objected to the politician's action. Faison does have an anti-LGBTQ+ record; among other things, he voted in favor of a Tennessee bill keeping transgender student athletes from competing on the sports teams aligned with their gender identity. Gov. Bill Lee has signed that measure into law, as he did with one excusing students from classes with LGBTQ+ content.
There are three other anti-LGBTQ+ bills awaiting Lee's signature or veto. The Tennessee Log Cabin group did recently speak out against one of them, which would require warning signs at businesses and government buildings that allow trans people to use the restrooms and changing rooms matching their gender identity.
"Americans are still sorting out how they feel about trans people and how they can be tolerant or hospitable neighbors even if they disagree," Joshua Herr, the group's chairman, wrote in a commentary piece for The Tennessean. "Government should not use private businesses as pawns in an ongoing culture war, especially with something as private as their customers' genitalia."
"We understand that the legislature wants to give parents peace of mind that their daughters will not use the same restroom as biological males," Herr continued. "Parents want to make sure their kids are safe -- this is a completely reasonable concern. But forcing trans women to use the same restroom as young boys can be more disturbing and disruptive to businesses."
Herr noted the group's support for the trans-exclusionary sports bill as an example of its "conservative bona fides" and added that "LGBT leftists regularly picket us, ban us, destroy our property, and call us ugly names." But he did cite a fact often pointed out by LGBTQ+ liberals and others across the political spectrum.
"There is not a single recorded instance of a trans woman sexually assaulting a biological woman in a bathroom in Tennessee," he wrote. "Instead, the opposite is true: there are many recorded instances of trans people being assaulted when they are recognized as trans. We want to protect all Tennesseans, including trans people. We don't think this bill helps to do that."