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. 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).

    Posted by: anon | Sep 10, 2012 3:38:11 PM

  2. 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

    Posted by: Shields Yellow | Sep 10, 2012 4:06:43 PM

  3. 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.

    Posted by: KL | Sep 10, 2012 4:19:42 PM

  4. PLEASE do the Ellen show! That would be a treat to see.

    And really great national exposure for marriage equality for Maryland.

    Posted by: Steve-ATL | Sep 10, 2012 4:23:53 PM

  5. 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.

    Posted by: Mateo | Sep 10, 2012 4:26:40 PM

  6. 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.

    Posted by: Icebloo | Sep 10, 2012 6:29:44 PM

  7. This is what we call...getting owned. Hardcore. Burns just got his rear handed to him on a silver platter with a side of shut the hell up. :)

    Posted by: Tom B. | Sep 10, 2012 8:18:33 PM

  8. WOW: Mr Burns is even dumber than Iceblow!

    Posted by: andrew | Sep 11, 2012 2:58:00 AM

  9. 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.

    Posted by: Mateo | Sep 11, 2012 3:03:43 AM

  10. 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?

    Posted by: MATT | Sep 12, 2012 11:47:47 AM

  11. 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.

    Posted by: WillowDee | Sep 16, 2012 3:53:23 PM

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