A state appeals court ruled a homosexual father cannot flaunt his lifestyle around his son.

As part of a divorce hearing, a Tennessee lower-court judge had barred Joe Hogue, a producer in the Christian music industry, from ”taking the child around or otherwise exposing the child to his gay lover(s) and/or his gay lifestyle,” the Nashville Tennessean reported.

The state Court of Appeals said, however, the judge was wrong to jail Hogue on a contempt-of-court charge for telling his son, then 9, he was homosexual.

But in a seven-page decision, Judge Frank Clement Jr. said the panel found nothing wrong with the lower court’s decision to shield the child from his father’s lifestyle, according to the Nashville paper.

Hogue’s wife, Cher Lynn Hogue, filed for divorce in February 2002, saying her husband had left home to pursue his new life as a homosexual. A divorce court agreed with her request to keep her son shielded and issued a restraining order. Hogue said her husband had allowed the child to be in the presence of a homosexual lover at his home and in church.

She filed a complaint asserting her husband told the child ”when someone is gay, they are born like that.”

The lower court sentenced Hogue to two days in jail in September 2002 for breaking the restraining order and also took away some of his visitation rights, the Tennessean said.

In the appeals court ruling, Clement argued the restraining order was not specific enough.

”We do not read the restraining order to prohibit a statement by the father that he is gay,” Clement wrote. ”Thus, husband did not have notice that he was prohibited from telling his son he was gay and therefore cannot be held in contempt for doing so.”

Hogue said he felt it necessary to tell his son about his homosexuality because the boy was asking questions, confiding that others believed his soul would be damned, the Nashville daily reported.

He believes his divorce and public case about his homosexuality has harmed his career in the Christian music industry. Hogue has worked with contemporary artists such as DC Talk and Michael McDonald.

He said he is ”trying to be an honest guy, and I’m still a Christian and still listen to Christian music. It’s hard for people to accept something they can’t understand. They don’t.”

Living in the “belt buckle of the Bible Belt” is tough, he told the Tennessean.

“I used to eat lunch once a week with my son at school,” recalled Hogue. “But everyone kind of hated me all of a sudden.”

He’s taking on other projects, such as producing theme music for television, but says his heart remains in Christian music.

”I’m still doing some Christian work, but I would love to do more,” he said, according to the paper. “But that is kind of an uphill battle. It’s getting better than it used to be.”

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