NFL player Michael Sam has hit out against the "extremely harmful" anti-LGBT bill which could come into law in his home state of Missouri.
The current Attitude cover star
spoke with great affection about Missouri, saying, "I consider it a home. It’s where I learned some of my first lessons about hard work, fairness and inclusion. But today, I’m deeply concerned for its future."
He warned against the proposed SJR 39 bill, which would amend the state’s constitution to allow businesses to legally refuse to provide service to same-sex couples. It's an issue which has cropped up across the more conservative, religious U.S. states, and was also the central point of the long running 'gay cake row' in Belfast.
"This so-called 'religious liberty' bill is just another way to undermine the dignity of LGBT people and their families," Sam has said, as he also acknowledging similar bills creeping up in states like Indiana, Georgia and North Carolina.
Writing in the Columbia Tribune
, Sam made his appeal as a Christian, and as an athlete, saying he was brought up to "treat every person, every team, every competitor with respect."
He added, "SJR 39 flies in the face of the values of sport and of fair-minded Missourians. In this great state, we all should be treated fairly and equally."
The proposed legislation
would be put to the voters, potentially at the same time as the presidential election in November, and would ensure that the state does not penalise any organisation who have a "sincere religious belief concerning marriage between two persons of the same sex."
This loosely defined bill could see LGBT people refused basic services and even the purchase of goods, with the law supporting this discrimination.
In the current issue of Attitude
, Michael Sam also speaks about his landmark position as the first gay man to be drafted by the NFL, and of the racism he has experienced in the gay community.
He also stood by his decision to come out, after he saw the positive impact it had on others.
"People kill themselves because they can’t handle that pressure and that stress. It’s very sad," he said. “If by me living my life, I can save someone, I would do it again.”
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