Some well known Chicago athletes are backing gay marriage equality in the state of Illinois. As the House of Representatives prepare to vote soon on the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, which would finally legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois, some prominent athletes have signed a letter that encourages passing the bill that has already been approved by the senate. According to the Wisconsin Gazette on Thursday, legendary players like Ernie Banks and Richard Dent lead the group of athletes who have signed the letter.
The bill already has the governor’s support as he said he will be ready to sign shall it be passed by the House. And with every major newspaper serving Illinois endorsing the bill, the timing of the letter comes at a very good time for advocates for same-sex marriage in the state. With names that include Mr. Banks himself as well as Richard Dent, Hunter Hillenmeyer and the very outspoken Brendon Ayanbadejo who played for the Chicago Bears for two seasons, the letter focuses on diversity and how everyone deserves to be treated equally.
The letter states:
“We come from a variety of backgrounds, and we have played different sports for different teams. But one thing that binds us together is our belief in the importance of fairness and respect – in all aspects of life. In Illinois today, gay and lesbian couples who are in lifetime committed relationships do not have the freedom to marry. This violates our sense of fairness and respect. It also goes against the Golden Rule of treating others as you would like to be treated yourself.”
In the letter the athletes also used the symbolism of how competition has strengthened them but “for that competition to take place, there have to be rules and a code of behavior”. Fairness and respect are crucial ingredients in making any team work and in society it is the vision of diversity and the realization that we live in a world of many different backgrounds, religion and sexual orientations but in order to blend, we have to recognize our differences and respect everyone’s opportunity for happiness.