Republican lobbyist Jack Burkman is reportedly pushing to keep gay men out of the National Football League.
Burkman claims to have garnered political support from six congressmen for related legislation he’s peddling on Capitol Hill, but he doesn’t name any specific lawmakers on board with prohibiting gay athletes from joining the NFL.
”We are losing our decency as a nation,” Burkman wrote in a statement, according to The Hill. “Imagine your son being forced to shower with a gay man. That’s a horrifying prospect for every mom in the country. What in the world has this nation come to?”
Burkman has a personal connection to this story: His brother, James, is openly gay. Burkman called out his brother in a Tweet on Monday. Jack Burkman confirmed to HuffPost’s Sam Stein that the man was his brother.
The Washington lobbyist claims to have conceived of the bill after college football star Michael Sam came out of the closet earlier this month; if drafted, Sam would be the first openly gay player in the NFL.
Burkman’s history of anti-gay rhetoric is long: he skewered the Boy Scouts last year for considering lifting its ban on openly gay Scouts. A self-proclaimed conservative talk radio host, his own lobby firm broke the news of the legislation, which the Huffington Post noted ”gave the announcement the unmistakable whiff of a publicity stunt.”
It’s the latest in a flurry of proposed bills that attempt to either protect gay rights or erode them – in Kansas, state legislators attempted to push a law through that would allow Kansans to deny gay people services—like preparing a wedding cake or a marriage license for a same-sex couple—on account of their religions beliefs. Elsewhere in Virginia, the newly Democratic governor and attorney general are working toward dismantling the state’s ban on gay marriage.
Jason Collins made history this week when he signed a contract with the Brooklyn Nets, becoming the first openly gay athlete in the NBA.
“Right now, I’m focused on trying to learn the plays, the game plan assignment,” Collins said ahead of his first game. “I don’t have time to really think about history right now.”