A couple months ago Sean Avery made some news in speaking out about being willing to support an openly gay player in the NHL. During the past few days a video has been released of Sean Avery speaking out in support of "New Yorkers for Marriage Equality." The campaign commercial spread rapidly and has been considered a boost to the cause of marriage equality in New York State.
A little over two hours ago the Human Rights Campaign sent an e-mail notifying that the New York Rangers are backing Avery’s stance on the issue as an organization. The move by the Rangers makes them the first not only NHL, but professional sports franchise to come out in support of the issue.
The move by both Avery and the Rangers organization is one that speaks to standing up for things you believe in. I have no doubt that this is a contentious issue for many, as are most political topics, but for both parties to put their name and in some measure reputations on the line is good to see no matter how you fall on the issue itself.
Here is the official release:
NHL’s New York Rangers Promote Marriage Equality; First Sports Team to Rally Behind Gay Issue
Further proof that America is at a historic tipping point on gay rights issues – and specifically marriage -- came today in the form of two tweets and a Facebook post from an unexpected ally: the National Hockey League’s New York Rangers. The Rangers become the first professional sports team to actively promote marriage equality by advancing a video released on Saturday in favor of marriage equality in New York State by Rangers player Sean Avery. Earlier today, the team tweeted about it and posted news of it on their Facebook page. Madison Square Garden, the home of the Rangers, later re-tweeted the Rangers’ message.
Sean Avery’s video was the subject of this story in Sunday’s New York Times. Avery is currently in his fifth season with the New York Rangers and helped take the team to the 2011 playoffs. The New Yorkers for Marriage Equality campaign is centered on video testimonials from New Yorkers who support the right of committed same-sex couples to marry. To date, HRC has released over 30 videos from a diverse group of New Yorkers ranging from Barbara Bush to Julianne Moore.
The fact that a professional sports team – and from the rough and tumble game of hockey, no less -- would be willing to support marriage equality is clear indication that there’s growing support for LGBT equality issues across the board. Over the last month, three different polls have indicated that a majority of Americans now support marriage equality. In New York, a poll recently released by the Siena Research Institute shows public support for marriage equality at 58 percent. No doubt that there are battles ahead, but today, history was made.