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Score another goal for Team Equality in the Empire State. They've added a professional athlete to the chorus of New Yorkers stumping for marriage equality. Thus far among the famous and not so, they've enlisted a bipartisan pair First Daughters, hip-hop Godfather Russel Simmons, a very impressive coalition of business leaders and nearly every New York politico of note including both Senators and RFK Jr.

Professional Hockey player New York Ranger Sean Avery taped a message in support of the LGBT community declaring himself another New Yorker for Marriage Equality courtesy of the Human Rights Campaign.

#16 is first NY pro athlete 
to voice support.
The spot's simple message:
I'm Sean Avery and I'm a New Yorker for marriage equality. I treat everyone the way I expect to be treated and that applies to marriage.

Committed couples should be able to marry the one they love. Join me in supporting marriage equality.


A cursory Google search reveals Avery appears to be quite the colorful personality, unsurprisingly. He appears to have an unapologetic interest in nightlife, fashion and shooting his mouth off. It also appears his appeal to LGBT community may not be entirely limited to his political views either (thank me later, boys). 

Greg Wyshynski at Yahoo Sports says:

Obviously, you can't mention a hockey player and homosexual rights without evoking Brendan Burke and what his legacy inspired. The levels of compassion and understanding that followed his coming out, and the actions of his father Brian Burke after Brendan's death, laid a foundation for players like Avery to not seem entirely out of step with hockey's current social norms.

You also can't mention Sean Avery in support of gays without recalling the problems the New York Rangers have had with that community in years past, with gay fans claiming MSG was a cesspool of homophobia. Having Avery, in his Rangers sweater, in these ads can only be a good thing image-wise and for building stronger bonds with that community.

Avery doesn't speak for hockey, but he speaks as a hockey player, and that's important.

Sean Avery can generate positive PR for an organization? Even through terrible fashion glasses, yes he can.

The blog Ranger Rants approves:

Whatever your thoughts on same-sex marriage, Avery is to be commended for having the courage to take such a public stand on the issue.

Perhaps we'll soon see a time when endorsing equality for all need not be commended as courageous. A point made by a blog commenter, they're worth a read, more supportive than not. Nice outreach job to a new audience. I wonder how often that blog debates LGBT issues?

Hopefully, too in the future we'll see more pro sports stars following the lead of Avery and the Chicago Blackhawks and the Kobe Bryant incidents will be fewer and far between. 

And the game continues. 

Today marriage equality advocates descend on Albany to send a message to the legislators. If you didn't make it today would be a great day to voice your agreement remotely, New Yorkers United For Marriage has a tool to make it really easy. Ask a friend to do so. Let's out shout the Fundies this time. 

Originally posted to Milk Men And Women on Mon May 09, 2011 at 06:50 AM PDT.

Also republished by Angry Gays, New York State, and The Wide World of Sports.

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