Steve Gleason, Scott Shanle and other athletes announce support for marriage equality

by

comment

Minnesota Viking Chris Kluwe and Baltimore Raven Brendon Ayanbadejo announced a long list of supporters co-signing a brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court supporting marriage equality and challenging California's Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage.

In a statement, former New Orleans Saint Scott Fujita said, "Football is a macho sport, but we've found many players to be accepting. We hope to create an environment where a player who is gay will be treated like any other teammate."

Among the co-signing supporters for the "Athletes' Brief" are Saints linebacker Scott Shanle, as well as former Saints players Steve Gleason, David Kopay and Kawika Mitchell. Other supporters include Def Jam founder Russell Simmons, WNBA coaches and players, university athletic directors and others. Kluwe, Ayanbadejo and Fujita are Ambassadors for Athlete Ally, an organization aiming to end homophobia in sports — you can read the organization's brief in full here.

The brief's introduction includes the following:

The NFL, NHL, MLB, and NBA, at the league level, team level, and individual level, are finally speaking out against homophobia and intolerance of LBGTQ individuals. More and more of us realize that using demeaning slur words like “faggot,” “queer,” and “gay” can have serious, negative consequences. ... Not necessarily consequences for us. Instead, consequences for the children and adults who look up to us as role models and leaders. Consequences for children and adults who mimic our behavior when they interact with others. And consequences that can be severe, long-lasting, and not infrequently lead to suicide and other serious harm.

Read the brief's full introduction below the jump.

Sports figures receive a celebrity status that influences a large majority of the American population. For far too long, professional sports have been a bastion of bigotry, intolerance, and small-minded prejudice toward sexual orientation, just as they had been to racial differences decades earlier.

That is finally changing, and changing drastically. The NFL, NHL, MLB, and NBA, at the league level, team level, and individual level, are finally speaking out against homophobia and intolerance of LBGTQ individuals. More and more of us realize that using demeaning slur words like “faggot,” “queer,” and “gay” can have serious, negative consequences.

Not necessarily consequences for us. Instead, consequences for the children and adults who look up to us as role models and leaders. Consequences for children and adults who mimic our behavior when they interact with others. And consequences that can be severe, long-lasting, and not infrequently lead to suicide and other serious harm. America has an ideal — exhibited imperfectly in the original Constitution and more perfectly in the Fourteenth Amendment — that all should be treated equally for what they are. When our government discriminates properly, it does so, not based on what we inherently are, but instead to regulate our negative actions against each other. Courts exist — because of men who long ago placed individual freedom as an ultimate principle for their country — to correct government action that takes away freedoms when that action is motivated by fear and prejudice rather than by evidence and logic. This Court should correct Proposition 8’s action to remove marriage rights from same-sex couples because, as the district court and the Ninth Circuit majority so carefully explained, the advocates of Proposition 8 provided no evidence-based rationale — as opposed to one based on fear and prejudice — for treating LBGTQ citizens differently with respect to marriage.

Add a comment