Former NBA Star Tim Hardaway is First Signer of Florida Marriage Equality Petition

Former Miami Heat player Tim Hardaway, who responded to John Amaechi's coming out in 2007 by declaring "I hate gay people," and has since become an advocate for LGBT youth, was the first petition-signer on the Equal Marriage Florida effort to put a proposed constitutional amendment legalizing same-sex marriage in the state on the November 2014 ballot, the Palm Beach Post reports:

HardawayThe campaign must gather more than 680,000 signatures from registered voters to have a chance to get on the ballot.

Signing the same-sex marriage measure comes only a couple months after Hardaway reached out and endorsed NBA player Jason Collins for coming out as the first openly gay athlete in any of the major professional leagues. Hardaway’s son, Tim, Jr., also has just been drafted by the New York Knicks.

Hardaway in 2007 made news for telling a Miami radio interviewer that he didn’t like gay people and acknowledged he was homophobic. After enduring a host of financial sanctions and being barred from activities at an NBA All-Star weekend, Hardaway began a long road toward tolerance, telling another interviewer about the incident, ”I’m going to do whatever I can to correct it.”


  1. GregV says

    IIRC, in Florida, a change to the Consititution requires 60% of votes to pass. The anti-gay amendment managed to win by a narrow margin when it was voted in, and I remember being concerned that equality supporters will need a super-majority to ever over-turn it in a vote.

  2. melvin says

    “It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.”

  3. Dan Cobb says

    C’mon! Do you think this guy really has a commitment to his charity work with gay youths. It’s 100% PR rehabilitation is all.
    Nothing more. Period.

  4. says

    That’s the kind of “hate” I like.

    Frankly, I don’t care if you hate gay people, so long as you support our equal rights. (Analogous to: I can hate what you say, but will fight to the death for your right to speak.)

  5. says

    thing is, Cobb, if you want to say that it’s just “PR” you have to concede that it’s “positive” PR.

    in the exact same way that Republican Politicians have been doing “negative” PR for the last 2 weeks by upping their anti-gay hatred in light of the Prop 8 and DOMA rulings.

    you can choose to believe that he doesn’t care and it’s just about saving his image. but with that, realize that to save his image he’s choosing to be on the right side of history.

    even Oscar the Grouch would see that it’s a Win-Win scenario.

  6. says

    I prefer the article on Huffpo Gay Voices because they go into deeper detail about how much amending he’s done since his comments. I honestly believe he’s changed his mindset and is now on our side. I mean he actually signed a petition, usually the bigots just go through some classes and might donate some money to GLAAD or something to save face.

  7. shawnthesheep says

    It’s no longer acceptable in most circles to hate gay people. There are financial and social consequences. Clearly, Hardaway has selfish motivations for changing his stance on gays, but I applaud him none the less.

  8. BreckRoy says

    He could have fulfilled his PR quota some time ago…at the end of the day his core audience wasn’t penalizing him and his employer’s demands had been met. I honestly think he was one of those people who learned from his own hate…his bigotry and the fallout actually put him in contact with gay people, people he was judging by stereotypes until then…and he met kids who had tried to commit suicide because of people like him. It appears to have changed him and all I ask in anyone is a willingness to change when they realize they are wrong. This is an amazing journey he and those his words influence would never have ever undertaken of not for his moment of public hate, so from the bad has come so much good.

  9. says

    This is what progress is all about. If, in part, it was self-serving (though that would hardly require him being first to sign or sign at all now), he’s still working for the right side, ours. His evolution should be more than welcomed, even if TR’s resident trolls and racists are as threatened by it as they are by marriage equality.

  10. Greg says

    In his prime, Tim Hardaway was known for his killer “crossover dribble”….
    looks like he’s crossed over to the right side of equality for all!

  11. Rexford says

    @Gast –

    You can view and download a hard copy of the petition at the “Equal Marriage Florida” website:

    (This is the type of thing where hard copy names and signatures of registered voters in the State of Florida need to be verified by the state.)

  12. Billy Crytical says

    Another heterosexual being pushed to the forefront of gay society. Gay people are the reason gay people got this far. If heterosexuals were the reason gay people made this much progress then it would have happened at the beginning of civilization thousands of years ago. I don’t care if he signs the petition just not the first signature on it.

  13. says

    In terms of lawmaking and ballot voting, @BillyCrytical, we’re in fact dependent on heterosexuals to step up to the plate, because we’re–news flash–a tiny minority of the overall population. That his was the first signature doesn’t take away from the aims of the petition nor the grassroots efforts of gay people and our allies over decades, who would be making progress with or without Tim Hardaway’s help. But without collective help from the majority, we wouldn’t get far.

  14. JMC says

    He isn’t playing anymore and he made the homophobic comments six years ago.. there would be no reason for this or most of his other activism and rge good will he’s shown towards the community if he was really just after some positive PR to cover up his true feelings like most celebrities. Some of you could stand to be a little less pessimistic!

  15. alex says

    He’s legitimately on our side. He’s no longer a public figure. There’s virtually no personal gain for him to do this.

    In fact, I’d argue that it making a public statement like this could have negative repercussions on his family. His son (Tim Hardaway Jr) was just drafted by the NY Knicks. I hate to stereotype, but I wouldn’t consider the average NBA fan to be an active supporter of marriage equality. Hardaway Sr’s actions could conceivably cause the homophobic basketball fans to be against his son.

    Personally, I’m grateful. Visibility of gay people (both famous and mundane) is vital. But, stories about people who have changed their minds are going to reach a segment of society that instantly dismiss anyone who self-identifies as gay.

  16. jamal49 says

    @Derrick: I agree. I also read the article on Huffpo and I do believe that Mr. Hardaway has changed and is in the process of evolving further. I understand that Magic Johnson has reached out to Hardaway and has been helpful in Hardaway’s change of attitude.

    Regardless, people can educate themselves or be educated about LGBTQ people. This very heartening, especially since our enemies seem to be pushing their bigotry into the election cycle yet again.

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