Maryland Delegate Emmett C. Burns Jr.
has asked the Baltimore Ravens to sanction Brendon Ayanbadejo for
supporting gay marriage.
In October, Ayanbadejo became the first
professional athlete to endorse the Marylanders for Marriage Equality
campaign, which successfully lobbied for passage of a bill legalizing
gay nuptials in the state.
“I believe we should be doing
everything that we can to make Maryland families stronger. Which is
why I support marriage for gay and lesbian couples who want to make a
lifetime commitment to each other,” Ayanbadejo said in a 30-second
ad. “People from all walks of life, including gay and lesbian
couples, want their children to be in stable homes and protected
under the law.”
Opponents of the law gathered
sufficient signatures to put the measure up to a popular vote in
In a letter to Ravens owner Steven
Disciotti, Burns, a Democrat and a vocal opponent of gay rights,
alleged that Ayanbadejo's opinions were dividing the team's fan base.
“I find it inconceivable that one of
your players, Mr. Brendon Ayanbadejo would publicly endorse same-sex
marriage, specifically as a Raven Football player. Many of my
constituents and your football supporters are appalled and aghast
that a member of the Ravens Football Team would step into this
controversial divide and try to sway public opinion one way or the
other,” Burns wrote on official Maryland House stationary.
“Many of your fans are opposed to
such a view and feel it has no place in a sport that is strictly for
pride, entertainment and excitement. I believe Mr. Ayanbadejo should
concentrate on football and steer clear of dividing the fan base.”
“I am requesting that you take the
necessary action, as a National Football League Owner, to inhibit
such expressions from your employees and that he be ordered to cease
and desist such injurious actions. I know of no other NFL player who
has done what Mr. Ayanbadejo is doing.”
responded on Twitter, saying he believes the “fight is for
equality for all” and that as an American he has “the right to