March 9, 2012 at 9:45 am EST | by Phil Reese
National news in brief: March 9
Patrick Burke, Brian Burke, gay news, gay politics dc

‘You Can Play’ founder Patrick Burke and his father, Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke, launched a PSA this week featuring eight NHL players encouraging inclusion for gay athletes. (Screen shot from You Can Play YouTube account)

Pro hockey players fight against homophobia

PHILADELPHIA — At least 35 players in the National Hockey League have joined together in a new initiative to fight homophobia and encourage inclusion, according to the New York Times.

“You Can Play” is the brainchild of Philadelphia Flyers’ scout Patrick Burke — the older brother of the late Brendan Burke, who came out while managing the Miami (Ohio) University hockey team — and encourages gay athletes to participate in sports. The initiative released a website and public service announcement featuring members of the New York Rangers, Anaheim Ducks and Ottawa Senators franchises, which will air Sunday on NBC during the first intermission of the Bruins-Rangers game.

Over 80 percent of pro-hockey players told Sports Illustrated they would welcome a gay player in the locker room, but as of yet, no pro hockey player has come out of the closet. Burke and his father, Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke, have been vocal proponents of LGBT inclusion in the sport after Brendan’s death in a 2010 car accident.

Poll: Most don’t vote based on candidate’s gay marriage stand

NEW YORK — While more Americans support extending marriage rights to same-sex couples than are opposed, their support does not compel voting for pro-marriage candidates, according to an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.

The poll found that 49 percent of respondents support same-sex marriage, compared with 40 percent opposed. Of those polled 32 percent were strongly in favor, while 31 percent were strongly opposed.

However, when asked if a candidate’s stance on the matter would affect whether the respondent would vote for them, only 25 percent said they would more likely vote for a candidate who supported same-sex marriage. Only 20 percent said they were more likely to vote for an opponent of same-sex marriage.

Episcopal bishop endorses Anchorage equal rights initiative

ANCHORAGE — Rev. Mark Lattime, the Episcopal bishop overseeing Alaska, has endorsed an April 5 ballot measure that would extend non-discrimination protections to people in Anchorage based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

According to the Alaska LGBT blog “Bent Alaska,” Lattime wrote his flock calling on them to “strive for justice and peace and to respect the dignity of every human being.”

“Working and praying for the just and proper protection under the law of all human beings is certainly a faithful expression of the higher calling of the Baptismal Covenant,” Lattime wrote.

LGBT political action fund selects new director

DENVER — The Gill Action Fund has chosen Kirk Fordham, CEO of the Everglades Foundation and a former staffer for Republican Rep. Mark Foley, as the organization’s new executive director, according to the Advocate.

Fordham, 44, acted as Foley’s Chief of Staff for 10 years prior to the congressional page scandal that caused the Florida moderate to come out as gay and end his political career in 2006. Fordham then headed the Everglades Foundation, which seeks to restore and protect the Florida Everglades ecosystem.

Gill Action was founded in 2005 by notable gay political funder Tim Gill, and houses the OutGiving program, which engages LGBT political donors and channels money toward electing pro-gay lawmakers while defeating anti-gay politicians.

Majority of New Jersey voters support same-sex marriage

TRENTON — A Quinnipiac University poll shows that New Jersey residents favor same-sex marriage 57 percent to 37 percent, easing the way for lawmakers on the fence on an override of Gov. Chris Christie’s veto last month of the marriage equality bill.

When given the option of marriage, civil unions, or no recognition for same-sex couples, a plurality still chose marriage at 47 percent, versus 34 percent who preferred civil unions and 13 percent who believe same-sex couples deserve no recognition.


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