Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee
has resigned from his appointment as a board member of the Country
Music Association Foundation.
Huckabee announced his resignation
following an outcry from the Nashville music industry.
“I genuinely regret that some in the
industry were so outraged by my appointment that they bullied the CMA
and the Foundation with economic threats and vowed to withhold
support for the programs for students if I remained,” Huckabee
wrote in his resignation letter. “I’m somewhat flattered to be of
such consequence when all I thought I was doing was voluntarily
serving on a non-profit board without pay in order to [continue] my
decades of advocacy for the arts and especially music.”
The CMA said that it had accepted
Huckabee's resignation “effective immediately.”
Jason Owen was among those who
protested Huckabee's appointment. The openly gay executive heads
Monument Records and Sandbox Management, which represents country
music stars such as Little Big Town, Faith Hill and Kacey Musgraves.
In a letter to CMA Foundation CEO Sarah
Trahern, Owen, who is raising a family with his husband, said that he
could “no longer support the CMA Foundation in any way.”
“This man has made it clear that my
family is not welcome in his America. And the CMA has opened their
arms to him, making him feel welcome and relevant,” Owen wrote.
“Huckabee speaks of the sort of things that would suggest my family
is morally beneath his and uses language that has a profoundly
negative impact upon young people all across this country. Not to
mention how harmful and damaging his deep involvement with the NRA
is. What a shameful choice.”
Huckabee, an ordained Southern Baptist
minister and a former presidential candidate, is an outspoken
opponent of LGBT rights.
In October, 2014, he called on
Republican governors to defy rulings striking down state laws and
constitutional amendments that prohibited gay and lesbian couples
from marrying. After the Supreme Court ruled that gay couples have a
constitutional right to marry, Huckabee called on Christians to defy
the nation's highest court, saying that they must be “willing to
suffer” for their beliefs. As a presidential candidate, he pledged
to ignore the ruling and protect opponents of marriage equality.
Huckabee has also called homosexuality
a sin and is opposed to openly gay and transgender people serving in