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Delegate spars with Ravens linebacker over same-sex marriage

A Baltimore County lawmaker wants a Baltimore Ravens linebacker to sack his public support for gay marriage.

Ravens linebacker and special teams ace Brendon Ayanbadejo is offering up two tickets to the teams’ season opener to someone who donates to a group supporting Maryland’s same-sex marriage law. The law was petitioned to referendum by opponents, and voters will decide same-sex marriage’s fate on Nov. 6.

Del. Emmett C. Burns Jr., D-Baltimore County, has a problem with Ayanbadejo’s involvement with the campaign.

In a letter to Ravens owners Steve Bisciotti, Burns wrote it was “inconceivable” that a Ravens player would “publicly endorse same-sex marriage.” Burns said many of his constituents 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.”

“I believe Mr. Ayanbadejo should concentrate on football and steer clear of dividing the fan base,” Burns wrote. “I am requesting that you take the necessary action, as national football franchise owner, to inhibit such expressions from your employee.”

Ayanbadejo’s participation in the debate and the campaign is hardly new. In April 2009, the Ravens linebacker penned a column for The Huffington Post headlined “Same Sex Marriages: What’s the Big Deal?

In October 2011, the linebacker appeared in a video sponsored by Marylanders for Marriage Equality.

“I support marriage for gay and lesbian couples who want to make a lifetime commitment to each other,” Ayanbadejo says in the video. “It’s the right thing to do.”

Updated, 6:29 p.m.: After being told about Burns’ letter through a Twitter message Thursday, Ayanbadejo tweeted “people are so ignorant.

He followed that tweet up with an explanation of his support for same-sex marriage.

“The fight is not about same sex marriage or interracial marriage or slavery or equal rights for women,” Ayanbadejo tweeted. “The fight is for equality for all!”

(Photo: Associated Press)


  1. so it’s ok for religious institutions to donate to their choice of sides concerning marriage equality, but not an individual!?! who cares if he happens to be on a football team!?! get a life mr burns!!!

  2. He’s just mad because Tebow’s not starting for the Jets.

  3. And this guy is a Democrat? WTF

  4. Emmett Burns’s comments aren’t “worth a bucket of warm spit” (to directly quote his comment regarding the validity of same-sex marriage that he made several months agao). I pity his family and people who attend his “Christian” church.

  5. Mr. Burns should indeed get a life and learn the definition of hypocrisy. He’s swimming in an ocean of it.

  6. meriequalityjustus

    Its funny when people speak out against same sex marriage its all fine and dandy but when its someone speaking for same sex marriage and they happen to be a foot ball player, or a large business or a a tv or movie star or musician.these “christian” right wingers, and conservatives go nuts and want to act stupid about it,
    why does it seem to matter so much to these idiots who i love or who any one else loves.

  7. My concern is why is it legal to give prize incentives for political donations? That just seems untoward.

  8. Wow! Burns is suggesting that corporate power be used to squash an American Citizen to express his Constitutionally protected right to free speach. This is wrong. This is the same man who claims the Civil Marriage Protection Act infringes on the right of Freedom of Religion!

    “I believe Mr. Ayanbadejo should concentrate on football and steer clear of dividing the fan base,” Burns wrote. “I am requesting that you take the necessary action, as national football franchise owner, to inhibit such expressions from your employee.”

  9. Gregory T. Barnes


    It is time for you to go! Your wholier than thou politics is unwanted, anachronistic and just plain wrong. My parents live in your district, and they vote. I will be sure to make them aware of your position on this subject.

  10. Mr. Burns is a smart man, but he’s just made a VERY stupid decision. You pick fights with opponents in your professional ring, not an athlete whose fan base FAR outnumbers his potential, and now rapidly decreasing, votes. Foolish, very foolish.

  11. Great Job Brendon!!!
    It’s terrific that people are a “stand” for other people’s rights.
    I do beleive because we live in a “free country” Everyone and anyone should
    be able to marry the same sex if that’s constenting between 2 people. Who’s business is it, who marries who???
    My opinion the people that pick on others, like this example, should point the finger at themselves. Maybe they need to improve there lives, stop looking at other peoples lives.
    Life is hard enough and if you fall in love with someone that is one of the big gifts we get in this world. Thanks for taking a stand, Aileen (A)

  12. well……I would like to hear from the constituents who are complaining. Maybe the goverment employee made that up.

  13. Giving prizes for donations isn’t new or noteworthy. Political candidates regularly give prizes, from bumper stickers and T-shirts to plane tickets, for campaign donations. Why wouldn’t it be legal for private citizens or private companies to give prizes for donations to non-profits?

  14. Jacqueline Crabtree

    Burns just became ridiculous, and archaic.

  15. Does anyone else see the irony in black man that grew up in Mississippi during the period when that state could be described as “a desert state sweltering in the heat of injustice and oppression” is in 2012 vehemently opposed to equal rights for gays and lesbians? Come join us in the 21st century Mr. Burns…

  16. Dr. Burns believes in civil rights… but only for some.