Chicago sports legends Ernie Banks and
Richard Dent are among the athletes urging Illinois lawmakers to
legalize gay marriage.
Dent, who primarily played for the
Chicago Bears during his 14 year career in the National Football
League (NFL), was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011.
Banks, who played 19 seasons on the Chicago Cubs team, is so
associated with Chicago baseball that he's been nicknamed Mr. Cub.
He's a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame and the Major League
Baseball All-Century Team.
Dent and Banks joined former Chicago
Bears linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer and Baltimore Ravens linebacker
Brendon Ayanbadejo, a former Chicago Bear, in signing a letter to
lawmakers considering a bill which would make Illinois the 10th
state to adopt marriage equality.
“We come from a variety of
backgrounds, and we have played different sports for different
group wrote in the letter. “But one thing that binds us
together is our belief in the importance of fairness and respect in
all aspects of life.”
“In sports, any time a player is not
treated with fairness and respect, the game is diminished.
Similarly, treating any group of people as second-class citizens
hurts us all, because discrimination is wrong no matter whom the
After passage in the Illinois Senate,
the measure awaits action in the House.
Emanuel pushes for passage of gay marriage bill in Illinois House.)