By Daniel Reynolds
Originally published on Advocate.com February 25 2014 4:28 PM ET
A D.C. lobbyist is amassing political support for a proposal that aims to keep gay players from joining the NFL.
Jack Burkman, CEO of Burkman LLC, predicted that dozens of members of Congress would rally behind his antigay legislation, reports Washington's News Channel 8. The announcement comes in the wake of NFL hopeful Michael Sam’s coming-out.
“Today is the kickoff so you’re catching me on day one,” Burkman said during a Monday night interview on the local news channel. “We expect to have a lot of support. I’ll give you the projection. Within three weeks, within 20 days, our projections indicate we’ll have 36 members in the House, six in the Senate.”
While Burkman has yet to reveal the names of the supporters or even the specific terms of the proposal, he said the “statute that would preempt all state law. It might even go so far as to preempt a variety of state constitutional provisions.”
“One, [this legislation] would ban [gays] from the National Football League,” the Republican lobbyist said. “Two, it would give the NFL a choice. It would allow them to create separate facilities — completely separate facilities.”
In a separate statement, Burkman, who also publicly criticized the Boy Scouts of America last year for lifting its ban on gay members, spoke about his belief that the country is in a state of moral decline, with Missouri football star Michael Sam as the latest harbinger.
“We are losing our decency as a nation,” Burkman said. “Imagine your son being forced to shower with a gay man. That’s a horrifying prospect for every mom in the country. What in the world has this nation come to?”
Michael Cole-Schwartz, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, questioned the legitimacy of Burkman's proposal in a statement reported by BuzzFeed.
“This idea sounds more like something you’d read in The Onion rather than anything close to legitimate public policy,” he said, referencing a satirical news publication.
Among Burkman’s critics is his brother, James Burkman. James, who is gay, tweeted his support of Sam on Monday.
“Hey @MikeSamFootball. @Jack_Burkman is being an ass,” he wrote. “I'm his brother, and I'm gay and stand with you.”