As the Supreme Court prepares to hear oral arguments on two same-sex marriage bans this week, several dozen pro athletes have filed a brief with the high court both supporting same-sex marriage and challenging California's Proposition 8, which amended that state's constitution to ban gay and lesbian nuptials. And while Cleveland Browns linebacker and former New Orleans Saint Scott Fujita has been a vocal supporter of same-sex marriage for years, the brief has now been cosigned by several of his former teammates, including former Black and Gold players Scott Shanle, Steve Gleason, David Kopay and Kawika Mitchell. Another Louisiana name among the signatories: former LSU women's basketball star and coach Pokey Chatman.
"Football is a macho sport, but we've found many players to be accepting," Fujita said in a statement. "We hope to create an environment where a player who is gay will be treated like any other teammate."
The brief comes on the heels of a Washington Post/ABC News poll conducted earlier this month, which showed support for same-sex marriage is at an all-time high in America at 58 percent, with Democrats and — for the first time — a small majority of Republicans in support. The gap is greater by age; 81 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds now support same-sex marriage. A separate Fox News poll last week had lower numbers but similar trends across demographic groups, with 49 percent of respondents in that poll for same-sex marriage and 46 percent against it.
Same-sex marriage is now legal in nine states and the District of Columbia. Louisiana voters amended the state constitution in 2004 to prohibit both same-sex marriage and civil unions. — ALEX WOODWARD & KEVIN ALLMAN