Two Chicago sports superstars, former Cub Ernie Banks, or “Mr. Cub”,
and Super Bowl-winning former Bears defensive end, Richard Dent, have
signed a letter in support of gay marriage in Illinois.
titled “An Open Letter from Athletes on Marriage Equality”, urges
members of the Illinois House of Representatives to approve legislation
that would make gay marriage legal in the state.
The Religious Freedom and Marriage Act has already been approved in the Senate and received endorsement from Gov. Pat Quinn. The law passed a House committee last week and will soon be up for a full vote.
Illinois today, gay and lesbian couples who are in lifetime committed
relationships do not have the freedom to marry,” the letter reads. “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 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.”
Other athletes that have signed the
letter include retired Bears linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer and former
Bears linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo.
“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,” reads the athletes' letter.