NFL's Brendon Ayanbadejo attacked for supporting gay marriage in Maryland

Sat. September 8, 2012 2:06 AM by Carlos Santoscoy

brendon ayanbadejo

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Baltimore, MD - 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 November.

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."

Ayanbadejo responded on Twitter, saying he believes the "fight is for equality for all" and that as an American he has "the right to speak!!!"

Article provided in partnership with On Top Magazine