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]


  1. enough already says

    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.

  2. stranded says

    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.

  3. Blake says

    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.

  4. edwin says

    “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.

  5. says

    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.

  6. Matt S. says

    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!

  7. Lipstick Diva says

    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.

  8. Scott Johansen says

    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.

  9. Lazerlight-Beams says

    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.

  10. says

    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.

  11. Shane says

    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.

  12. Greg Cali says

    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.

  13. anon says

    Keep in mind that the original letter is par for the course for coercion of private entities by public officials. This was a rare time the official was forced to back down (in public, but perhaps not in private).

  14. Shields Yellow says

    His letter was idiotic, overbearing and yes, it did come off a bit threatening. To contact someone’s employer for them to not speak on a topic is a violation of our amendment rights, and the ENORMOUS backlash Burns is recieving perfectly proves, the American public does not ever appreciate our politicians telling us what matters we can and can’t speak on. His backtracking mean nothing. Damage has been done

  15. KL says

    Isn’t it amusing Conservatives have a national martyr day to play victim when gays dare challenge their fried chicken corporation donating millions to kill LGBT overseas… And that is us limiting their freedoms, but where’s the outcry from Conservatives over this? Now THIS is a clearcut (and clearly expressed) violation of freedom of speech by Burns. Guess it’s okay because he’s a christian taking a jab at gay rights.

  16. says

    Maryland GLBT: keep up the great work. you have GLBT and supporters throughout the country pulling for you all. This is the home stretch, and it’s going to require every single gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender in te state to speak openly about the issue with friends, family and coworkers. We know you guys can pull it off!
    We’re all behind you.

  17. Icebloo says

    Democrats should ask Emmett to resign. They need to make a stand against homophobia if they want us to believe they really support us. If someone had said something racist they would have asked that person to resign so why is it OK for this idiot to continue in his job ? It’s not acceptable.

    I find his remarks just as offensive as Todd Akin’s remarks about “legitimate rape” so the Democrats need to do the same as the Republicans and not give any money from the central fund to help Emmett’s re-election campaign.

    By issuing his letter as an official communication THREATENING the football team, Emmett abused his power. He needs to resign or be fired. No excuses.

  18. says

    Why is that Andrew?
    Because IceBloo is not a wavering LGBT supporter like you? Your support means sht to us. You’re an old, bitter angry little gay upset at the community because you can’t get laid. Take your fake support somewhere else you OLD perverted creep.

  19. MATT says

    The good christian that he is, maybe Mr. Burns should really be directing his moral outrage at the NFL itself. Since Mr. Burns’ bible does say that touching the skin of a dead pig is unholy…shouldn’t he be channeling his efforts into shutting down the NFL, or at least getting rid of the pigskin?

  20. WillowDee says

    I’m a Baptist, a Democrat, 73 years old, raised 6 kids and have several degrees and come from a mixed race family. I cannot believe that the standards were very high where E.C.Burns Jr. got his degrees or perhaps he slithered under the bar each time. Why is it that so many people are always trying stick their noses in other peoples lives and control them. The preoccupation with others sex lives is disgusting. Sexual thoughts obviously control Burns life.

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