It’s an unfortunate day in the state of Tennessee.
Tenessee Governor Haslam signed a bill Wednesday that will allow mental health counselors to refuse patients based on “sincerely held principles.” Many musicians and stars in and outside of the country music hub criticized the bill before its signing as discriminatory to LGBTQ people.
One of those critics is Chris Carmack, star of the musical primetime soap Nashville. “I’m disappointed that the voices of so many Tennesseans – including my own – were not heard,” Carmack told The Hollywood Reporter. “But I will never quit standing up for equality and acceptance and will continue to support fairness and love for all people whenever and however I am able.”
In addition to his own recent solo music career, Carmack portrays gay musician Will Lexington on Nashville. The struggle between his sexuality and appealing to the traditional country music audience has been an ongoing plotline for the character since his introduction late in the first season.
The news made for a bittersweet day for the cast of Nashville. Last night Carmack, Clare Bowen, Charles Esten and Aubrey Peeples performed at the Fox Theater in Atlanta as a part of a promotional tour for the show. On top of that, the 17th episode of its fourth season aired at 9 pm.
— Chris Carmack (@RealCarmack) April 28, 2016
“A beautiful night of music, friends, and family… Then this tainted it,” Carmack tweeted shortly after the show, tagging Gov. Haslam along with a link to the news on GLAAD’s website. “I’m sad this even exists.”
Carmack spoke at a GLAAD conference earlier this month about the bill, urging music groups to take action against the legislation.
Nashville‘s lead Connie Britton also spoke about the bill before it was signed and the difficult situation of filming the in the same state should it pass. “I shoot a TV show in Tennessee, and honestly, if they proceed with this, I’m not necessarily going to feel comfortable working there,” Britton said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “That is a tricky situation because of course we employ a lot of people in the state, and you certainly don’t want to have to interrupt that, but at the same time, this is the only way that we can have our voices be heard.”
GLAAD and CMT have also issued statements about the signing. “Viacom and CMT deeply value diversity and inclusion and oppose any law that violates those principles,” a representative for Country Music Television said.