11 May 2011

First Pro Athlete Publicly Supports Gay Marriage in NY

Bravo to Sean Avery, New York Rangers forward, for declaring his support for marriage equality this week. This is rare, although I’m happy to say that he’s not the first athlete in the nation to support marriage equality.

That honor goes to Brendon Ayanbadejo, a linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens, who recorded a video statement for Equality Maryland earlier this year.

There are two others I know of in the world of professional male sports who have shown support for gays: Grant Hill and Jared Dudley of the Phoenix Suns. They recently recorded a public-service announcement for the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network to combat antigay language in sports. This is the NBA’s response to Kobe Bryant’s homophobic tirade against a ref, and unfortunately, venting this homophobia is a (mostly) acceptable way to intimidate an opponent or challenge an official.

But maybe the tide can start to turn now. Four athletes in all of sports aren’t many, but you have to start somewhere.

As Sean Avery says, “I treat everyone the way I expect to be treated, and that applies to marriage.”

Thanks Sean!

-Maura McGurk

Maura is an artist who paints about LGBT issues, with a special focus on anti-gay bullying. Take a look at her website to see her paintings.


  1. I have been following Ben Cohen, former English Rugby star. Although straight, he has organized the "Acceptance Tour." Of it, he states:

    I am passionate about standing up against homophobia and feel compelled to take action. It is time we stand up for what is right and support young people who are being harmed. As athletes, it is not enough just to have strong bodies. We must have strong characters and use our voices to support those who need and deserve it.

    Bravo, Ben.

    Brava, Maura.

    For more information, go to: http://www.acceptance.ben-cohen.com/ or "LIKE" him on facebook to follow him.

  2. Thanks for introducing me to Ben--I think he's fantastic!!


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