Late country music singer Toby Keith expressed support for gay marriage

Toby Keith performs onstage during the 2021 iHeartCountry Festival on 30 October, 2021 in Austin, Texas

Country music singer Toby Keith has died at the age of 62.

In June 2022, the musician revealed that he had been diagnosed with stomach cancer, which he described as “debilitating”. 

And on Monday night (5 February), his family announced on his X/Twitter that he had died, having “fought his fight with grace and dignity”. 

The post has been flooded with messages of condolence, with one person writing that his song “Courtesy of The Red, White And Blue (The Angry American)” – released in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks – carried them through “many rough days”. 

Toby Keith expressed support for gay marriage in 2011

Despite country music’s association with conservative values, Toby Keith expressed support for gay marriage back in 2011, almost half a decade before the US Supreme Court’s ruling legalising marriage equality nationwide.

The “whole gay issue thing, that’s never bothered me”, he said during an interview with CMT Insider.  

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”First of all, we’re going to stop somebody from getting a marriage licence because they’re gay? You won’t stop them living together, so what have you accomplished?… wasting a lot of money here and a lot of time that could be spent working on this deficit that we’re under…

“I never saw the reasoning behind getting in people’s personal lives.”

During his 30 year-career, Keith played for US presidents George W Bush. Barack Obama and Donald Trump, and is probably best-known for the 1993 hit “Should’ve Been a Cowboy”, his first number-one single on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.

He would go on to amass 19 more, and was awarded the National Medal of the Arts by Trump in 2021.

Before finding success with his music, Keith worked on oil fields and as a semi-professional footballer. He is survived by his wife, Tricia Lucas, and their three children. 

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