The Tennessee Orthopedic Alliance has gone from a group of orthopedists who didn’t even know what the word “athlete” meant to one that is officially a member of the state legislature.
This is thanks to state Rep. John Brooks, a Republican from Clarksville, who in 2017 became the first member of his party to be elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives.
The TNOA has existed since 1993, and was a political committee that was run by Brooks to elect a member to the state House.
But in 2016, the group split from the GOP, and Brooks was elected to become the state’s first elected representative.
Brooks, who represents the 5th Congressional District in Tennessee, is known for his strong conservative views.
In 2017, Brooks was one of two members of the TNOA who voted against a bill to repeal the state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
“The TNO has been a great ally to our state, and we have never once lost an election in our time here in Tennessee,” Brooks said.
“We stand for traditional marriage, and the TNO will not allow a person to be denied their constitutional right to marry the person they love.
The TNO and the Tennessee Republican Party support the right of every Tennessean to marry whoever they choose.”
In 2017, Tennessee voters approved the repeal of Amendment 2, which banned same-day same-year marriages and banned same sex marriage.
In 2018, Brooks authored legislation to allow same-gender marriage.
Since then, the Tennessee Orthopaedic Alliance and Brooks have become allies.
This fall, the TNOLA joined the Tennessee Senate, and this week, Brooks signed into law a bill that will allow all Tennesseans to vote for anyone they want on their ballot, including the TNOC and the local chapter of the Tennessee GOP.
In a statement, Brooks said, “The TNOC will work hard to ensure that everyone in our state can vote for whoever they want.”
Broken down, it’s not a surprise that Brooks, who has been openly gay for years, would support marriage equality.
“In 2017 I was elected as a Tennessee Republican because I believed the state had a chance to move forward,” Brooks told Independent.
“I know that now as a state representative, I can work together with our members and our allies to get it done.”
“I’ve always been the strongest advocate for Tennesseana for the LGBT community, and that will continue,” he added.