Chicago athletes urge Illinois legislature to support marriage law

Yesterday, four renowned Chicago athletes urged legislators in Illinois to support the freedom to marry in a joint letter. The players include Super Bowl XX MVP Richard Dent, former Defensive End for the Chicago Bears; Hall-of-Famer Ernie Banks, former Chicago Cubs player; Hunter Hillenmeyer, former Linebacker for the Chicago Bears; and Brendon Ayanbadejo, who previously played for the Chicago Bears and just this year became a Super Bowl champ with the Baltimore Ravens. 

They write (full letter):

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 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 target is.

For this reason, we believe that the Illinois General Assembly should act now and give same-sex couples the freedom to marry. It's the right thing for Illinois; it's the right thing to do, period.

Last month, the Illinois Senate approved the freedom to marry by a 34-21 vote, and the House Executive Committee voted to advance the House marriage bill to a full vote on the House floor. A vote is expected soon in the House. If the House approves the bill, it will go before IL Governor Pat Quinn, a vocal supporter of the freedom to marry, and Illinois will become the tenth state in the country where same-sex couples can share in the freedom to marry. 

Illinois Unites for Marriage, which is chaired by the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, Equality Illinois, and Lambda Legal, is working alongside legislators to pass the bill in 2013. Freedom to Marry is proud to be a member of the coalition working on the front lines to pass marriage in the legislature.

Learn more about the freedom to marry in Illinois, and check out Illinois Unites for Marriage online and on Facebook