Maryland Delegate Violated Ethics Rules Trying To Silence Equality-Supporting Football Player

Maryland De. Emmett Burns (D)

Last September, Maryland Del. Emmett Burns (D) wrote a letter to Baltimore Ravens owner Steven Disciotti demanding he silence linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo from speaking out for marriage equality. (That letter prompted Minnesota Viking Chris Kluwe’s infamous response that gay people “won’t magically turn you into a lustful cockmonster.”) A few days later, Burns admitted that Ayanbadejo “has his First Amendment rights.” Now, a Maryland legislative ethics committee has found that his use of government stationary was “an abuse of public resources“:

Your use of official General Assembly letterhead to pressure the employer of a citizen of Maryland to suppress the citizen’s right of free speech was a particularly egregious abuse of public resources.

The committee recommended no disciplinary action, however, telling Burns “you have recognized the error of your violation and have publicly apologized.” It’s unclear that he actually ever apologized, though. Despite having admitted Ayanbadejo has First Amendment rights, Burns still feels that “professional football is not the place to be pushing gay rights.” Given Burns’ vociferous opposition to LGBT equality, he likely doesn’t believe that any such “place to be pushing gay rights” exists at all.