Anti-Gay Maryland Lawmaker Emmett C Burns Jr Backs Down from Bid to Silence Brendon Ayanbadejo


Maryland House of Delegates member Emmett C. Burns, jr, who made national news last week by demanding Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti stop linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo from speaking his mind on marriage equality (Ayanbadejo is a longtime and outspoken gay rights advocate) is backing down from his request following a weekend in which he was attacked by NFL punter Chris Kluwe and assailed on social media for trying to stifle freedom of speech.

Burns"Upon reflection, he has his First Amendment rights," Del. Emmett C. Burns Jr., a Baltimore County Democrat, said in a telephone interview. "And I have my First Amendment rights. … Each of us has the right to speak our opinions. The football player and I have a right to speak our minds."

The Baltimore Sun adds:

Though the Burns letter came from an opponent of same-sex marriage, the overwhelmingly negative reaction to it and the even the timing seem to have handed supporters a win. Ayanbadejo said he has a stack of invitations to speak to the national press this week — including an offer from DeGeneres to fly to California for a live appearance on her show.

MD Lawmaker Asks Ravens Owner to Curb Brendon Ayanbadejo's Support for Equality [tlrd]
Ravens Player Ayanbadejo Responds to Request That He STFU About Gay Rights [tlrd]
Vikings Punter  Kluwe Comes Out Swinging in Defense of Ayanbadejo and Gay Rights [tlrd]
Vikings Punter  Kluwe, Defender of Marriage Equality, Appears on 'The Ed Show': VIDEO [tlrd]

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  1. Upon reflection? That should have happened before he opened his big dumb mouth.

    Posted by: Jack M | Sep 10, 2012 8:28:19 AM

  2. Burns looks like one of those ministers who spends extra time up in the choir loft.

    Posted by: Demian | Sep 10, 2012 8:35:22 AM

  3. He can't take back what he already exposed to the public. This idiot doesn't belong in government, he not fit for public office.

    Posted by: Gast | Sep 10, 2012 8:47:34 AM

  4. Yeah, it takes such a flash of inspiration to 'reflect' that there is freedom of speech.

    You dumb cow.
    Sorry cows !

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Sep 10, 2012 8:53:32 AM

  5. I have news for Del. Burns: his free speech rights do not include demanding that someone else's be curtailed.

    Posted by: Hunter | Sep 10, 2012 9:00:07 AM

  6. Del. Burns may have added a percentage point to the pro-marriage equality side in the Maryland referendum in November.

    Posted by: Watcher | Sep 10, 2012 9:06:44 AM

  7. The Maryland General Assembly should now punish Burns, for acting with intent to violate a citizen's constitutional rights.

    Posted by: Scott Rose | Sep 10, 2012 9:07:21 AM

  8. Next up, Mr. Smith will agree to concede to the laws of gravity...

    Posted by: Michael | Sep 10, 2012 9:09:29 AM

  9. And this man is a Democrat?
    If the Republicans can tell Akin where to get off, our leadership needs to tell this in-duh-vi-dual to get back down on his knees in front of the men's choir.
    With that mouth, I'm sure he's been missed.

    Posted by: enough already | Sep 10, 2012 9:14:16 AM

  10. @Towleroad
    Do you deliberately pic such ugly pics of the bigots or they are just the same.

    Posted by: Pommie | Sep 10, 2012 10:30:39 AM

  11. May his cock be ever flaccid just like his brain.

    Posted by: MikeyBlu | Sep 10, 2012 10:59:39 AM

  12. "But only Christians are allowed to have free speech! If a homosexual doesn't like what I say, he's try to take away my First Amendment rights! WHAAAAH!"

    Posted by: FuryOfFirestorm | Sep 10, 2012 12:04:46 PM

  13. Burns threatened a private organization with unspecified action on official government letterhead (so I've read, haven't seen an actual copy). He needs to lose his job as a delegate for starters. He has every right to spit out his bile as a public citizen or preacher but not as an elected official using the power and resources of the state.

    Posted by: stranded | Sep 10, 2012 12:35:52 PM

  14. Burns picked on Ayanbadejo because he thought that he could "black guilt / shame" him into shutting up / changing his mind.
    NOM's plan to get inter minority conflict has clearly pulled Burns in.

    Posted by: Blake | Sep 10, 2012 12:37:59 PM

  15. "Burns picked on Ayanbadejo because he thought that he could "black guilt / shame" him into shutting up / changing his mind."

    I actually agree with this.

    Posted by: edwin | Sep 10, 2012 1:03:46 PM

  16. What Burns did as an elected official is in my opinion one of THE most deplorable things I have ever heard in regards to gay issues. I can handle a politician voting against gay rights...... But to write a long winded letter to an EMPLOYER demanding that his employee be silenced in their approval of equality is downright SICKENING. And so Un American. Burns is trying to desperately back pedal, but EVERY Maryland resident owes it to themselves to make sure this man's actions here are attached to his name. He showed his true colors.

    Posted by: Art Smith | Sep 10, 2012 2:10:15 PM

  17. I think this is one storyline that could REALLY benefit the marriage equality camp in Maryland, and dare I say, if the LGBT community uses Ayanbadejo in the media and press, I truly think this could be the very pillar that wins our side same sex marriage in Maryland. Burns truly gave a goldmine to our camp with his mind boggling move, and now it's the job of every pro gay marriage advocacy group to get Ayanbadejo's story more prominent in the press. The support he's getting from heterosexuals on this, many of whom are actually admitting this is what inspired them to now vote for gay marriage, is really inspiring!

    Posted by: Matt S. | Sep 10, 2012 2:14:03 PM

  18. I can't imagine if someone contacted my boss and wanted me to face consequences just for stating I was for marriage equality. For an actual law maker to do that is truly scary stuff folks. We need to wake up and call out these actions from these militant law makers, and swiftly call it out. Otherwise, the U.S will soon become the new MidEast. This man should be ashamed of himself. That letter he wrote turned my stomach; that a politician in 2012 would try to stiffle another citizen's freedom of speech in that manner.
    Congrats to this Footballer for speaking up even louder as a result.

    Posted by: Lipstick Diva | Sep 10, 2012 2:17:34 PM

  19. I do believe our side played this beautifully to our benefit. I do think we can get this story out even more, to illustrate that gays simply want equal rights, that some conservatives truly are intolerant of not just us but even our allies, and that our allies can include strong, heterosexual, alpha, well known atheletes. That will win us over a new demographic: middle America, alpha, straight men. I'd ask every LGBT to share this story on their facebook and twitter pages. I agree with posters above that it's been awesome seeing how supportive people are of this athelete and gays in this case.

    Posted by: Scott Johansen | Sep 10, 2012 2:20:44 PM

  20. Burns: SAVE IT! Your letter threatened, yes threatened, The Ravens owners and staff that this type of behavior (expressing support of gay marriage) would result in the team losing support and their status in Maryland. You you feel shame for that letter. Nothing in it illustrates our principles and Constitution. You violated your employment code and ethics by doing what you did and I hope every gay, straight, lesbian, bi, trans person in Maryland reminds everyone they know about your actions when it comes time to vote you OUT. You don't represent what being an American means to many.

    Posted by: Lazerlight-Beams | Sep 10, 2012 2:24:20 PM

  21. To write a letter, as a public representative, threatening to stiffle the first amendment rights of one of gour constituents because your "religion" disagrees with their freedoms to express their opinion is about as crazy as it gets, and trust me, I've read crayyyzayyy in American politics, but this mess with Emmett C. Burns JR takes the cake. Thank you Ayanbadejo for truly grasping the constitution. When your football career ends, can you PLEASE consider a second career in politics? We need more peeps like you serving office. Not corrrupt and confused dictators like Burns.

    Posted by: USC Trojans Fan | Sep 10, 2012 2:28:33 PM

  22. I may only be a scrawny white gay kid from the South, but I can so relate to Mr. Ayanbadejo's words of encouragment and support. to know I have an ally in a talented, football star means soooo much. I don't know if everyone here has twitter, but if you do, please tweet Brandon Ayanbadejo a thank you for his support of gay rights and equality. I'm on twitter daily and already added him and thanked him!! Show your support for this awesome man.

    Posted by: Shane | Sep 10, 2012 2:43:39 PM

  23. Are LGBT organizations listening and reading these articles of this prominent Maryland football star? He is quoted in the article as saying he is free for any LGBT organization or the governors office to use him to promote marriage equality any way they want from now till Novemer. This man is the most effective and useful spokesperson I can think of, and to tie in his own battle to express his free speech into your campaigns is an instant jackpot recipe. Use him (and thank him) he's basically a dream ally to have. Marylan is a toss up state that very well could go our way, especially with this current event.

    Posted by: Greg Cali | Sep 10, 2012 2:47:38 PM

  24. What is his twitter handle? I want to thank him.

    Posted by: Kyle | Sep 10, 2012 2:48:16 PM

  25. I must say it's mighty white of Mr Burns to concede that the 1st Amendment applies even to football players, not just himself!

    Posted by: Caliban | Sep 10, 2012 3:03:36 PM

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