Chick-fil-A billionaire CEO says his anti-gay marriage statements hurt business

ChickFilA-ChickenSandwich-e1395231520696Forbes magazine reported that in the summer of 2012, the billionaire family behind fast food chain Chick-fil-A found themselves … well, if not in hot water, then in a piping vat of chicken grease.

That year, with same-sex marriage on four state ballots, the scion of Forbes rich list stalwart S. Truett Cathy (net worth: $6.2 billion) hit headlines for taking a public stance against equal rights.

In July, Truett’s son Dan, Chick-fil-A’s CEO, told the Baptist Press he was “guilty as charged” in his support of what he described as traditional marriage.

“We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles,” Cathy said.

The fast food chain’s in-your-face Christian values weren’t exactly news even then. Forbes ran a story on The Cult of Chick-fil-A in 2007 and its stores closing on Sunday to allow workers to attend church.

Rather, it was Dan Cathy’s reaffirmation of his firm’s same-sex marriage stance that set off a wave of protests, with LGBT kiss-ins at Chick-fil-A stores and even some lampooning via music video, with three drag queens skewering Chick-fil-A to the tune of Wilson Phillips’ “Hold On.” (Sample lyric: Some day somebody’s gonna make you wanna gobble up a waffle fry / But no go, don’t you know, Chick-fil-A says you make the baby Jesus cry.)

Now, almost two years later, Dan Cathy — a self-described evangelical Christian — says he made a mistake.

In a rare and wide-ranging interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Cathy admitted his anti-equality stance probably wasn’t a wise business decision, regretting “making the company a symbol in the marriage debate:”

“Every leader goes through different phases of maturity, growth and development, and it helps by [recognizing] the mistakes that you make,” Cathy said. “And you learn from those mistakes. If not, you’re just a fool. I’m thankful that I lived through it and I learned a lot from it.”

Cathy agreed that the “lingering identity” of Chick-fil-A with “anti-gay groups” that jumped to its defense in 2012 has meant “alienating market segments.”

“Consumers want to do business with brands that they can interface with, that they can relate with,” Cathy said. “And it’s probably very wise from our standpoint to make sure that we present our brand in a compelling way that the consumer can relate to.”

Cathy himself hasn’t changed his own views on same-sex marriage. As he told the AJC: “I think the time of truths and principles are captured and codified in God’s word, and I’m just personally committed to that. I know others feel very different from that, and I respect their opinion, and I hope that they would be respectful of mine.”

What is clear is that his family’s fried chicken business, which made $4.6 billion in sales in 2012, will be staying out of the fray when it comes to equality.

“I think that’s a political debate that’s going to rage on,” he told the Journal-Sentinel. “And the wiser thing for us to do is to stay focused on customer service.”

Read more about the billionaire Cathys, including charitable donations to anti-gay-marriage groups, here.

—  Steve Ramos

Arizona lawmakers pass controversial anti-gay bill

UnknownArizona’s Legislature has passed a controversial bill that would allow business owners, as long as they assert their religious beliefs, to deny service to gay and lesbian customers, CNN reported.

The bill, which the state House of Representatives passed by a 33-27 vote Thursday, now goes to Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican and onetime small business owner who vetoed similar legislation last year but has expressed the right of business owners to deny service.

The measure has drawn criticism from Democrats and business groups who said it would sanction discrimination and open the state to the risk of damaging litigation.

“With the express consent of Republicans in this Legislature, many Arizonans will find themselves members of a separate and unequal class under this law because of their sexual orientation,” Anna Tovar, the state senate Democratic minority leader, said in a statement. “This bill may also open the door to discriminate based on race, familial status, religion, sex, national origin, age or disability.”

In a letter to Brewer on Friday, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council urged the governor to veto Senate Bill 1062, saying the “legislation will likely have profound, negative effects on our business community for years to come.”

“The legislation places businesses currently in Arizona, as well as those looking to locate here, in potentially damaging risk of litigation, and costly, needless legal disputes,” council President Barry Broome wrote, adding that four unidentified companies have vowed to locate elsewhere if the legislation is signed.

He added, “With major events approaching in the coming year, including Super Bowl XLIX, Arizona will be the center of the world’s stage. This legislation has the potential of subjecting the Super Bowl, and major events surrounding it, to the threats of boycotts.”

The bill is being pushed by the Center for Arizona Policy, a conservative group opposed to abortion and same-sex marriage. The group has justified the measure on grounds that the proposal protects people against increasingly activist federal courts.

“As we witness hostility towards people of faith grow like never before, we must take this opportunity to speak up for religious liberty,” the group said on its website, asking people to contact Brewer and urge her to sign the bill. “The great news is that SB 1062 protects your right to live and work according to your faith.”

Cathi Herrod, the center’s president, told CNN on Friday, “The Arizona bill has a very simple premise, that Americans should be free to live and work according to their religious faith. It’s simply about protecting religious liberty and nothing else.”

Herrod said the bill’s opponents are “showing unbelievable hostility toward religious beliefs.”

“America still stands for the principle that religious beliefs matter (for) something in this country, that we have the right to freely exercise our religious beliefs,” she said.

But Robert Boston, a spokesman for the Washington-based Americans United for Separation of Church and State, told CNN the legislation would “fling the door wide open to discrimination, not just against gay people, but basically to any class of individuals that a religious fundamentalist decides he or she doesn’t want to deal with.”

He added, “A woman who is pregnant out of wedlock, for example, ‘Well, out the door, you don’t get served in my business.’ ”

The Arizona legislation was passed as conservative states work to counter laws legalizing same-sex marriage. Arizona voters approved a ban on same-sex marriage as a state constitutional amendment in 2008.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona called the bill “unnecessary and discriminatory.”

“What today’s bill does is allow private individuals and businesses to use religion to discriminate, sending a message that Arizona is intolerant and unwelcoming,” the group said in a statement.

Some Republican legislators have defended the bill as a First Amendment issue, while Democrats dismissed it as an attack on gays and lesbians.

“We saw it with Russia and the Olympics,” said state Rep. Chad Campbell, a Phoenix Democrat, who voted against the legislation, according to KPHO. “I mean, hey, I’m not sure if Russia is any less progressive than Arizona now against gay rights to be quite honest with you.”

Monica Jones, a Phoenix resident, agreed: “Think about what this says to the rest of the country. We are not Russia. We are a first nation. And, as Americans, we have civil rights.”

—  Steve Ramos

WATCH: Restaurant owner calls disabled and gay customers ‘freaks’, refuses to serve them

 

The owner of an Enid, Okla., restaurant is under fire after a customer claimed he was discriminated against because he’s disabled, KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City reported.

Gary’s Chicaros’ owner, Gary James, didn’t make things much better when he gave an interview to a local news station: “I’ve been in business 44 years, I think I can spot a freak or a f**got,” he told KFOR.

Matt Gard, who was a regular diner at Gary’s, said James’s treatment of disabled and minority customers has increased over the years. He said he was recently kicked out while trying to enjoy a steak dinner.

“He doesn’t like certain people of race, colour, ethnicity,” Gard told KFOR. “Now, he tried to find a weak excuse not to let me in with my wheelchair or the weak excuse of having loud people with me.”

James denies Gard’s claims, saying he banned Gard for another reason. “He created an issue. You only have one time here. You create an issue, you’re out forever.”

“If you work, you own a business, pay your taxes, you’re more than welcome here,” he said. “[But] if you’re on welfare, stay at home and spend my money, there.”

At least 140 other people took to Gary’s Chicaros’ Facebook page to share their stories of being discriminated against by James.

All of which shouldn’t be a surprise, considering the official T-shirts at Chicaro’s. Those shirts say “F**got-Free Zone,” the N-word, and include threats against Muslims and Democrats.

James wears the shirt openly and says he’s proud of it.

“I really don’t want gays around,” he said “Any man that would compromise his own body would compromise anything.”

When KFOR’s reporter, who is Asian, asked James if he’d call her a “ch**k,” he said only if they were drinking and “joking around.”

“If I reached over there and slapped the sh*t out of you, you should be offended,” he said. “But to call someone a ‘ch**k’ or someone call me a bigot, that doesn’t bother me.”

This article first appeared on Gawker.

—  Steve Ramos

Gay men say they were kicked out of bar for dancing to country music

aclu2The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas is supporting a gay couple after the men said they were kicked out of a South Texas nightclub for dancing together to country music.

The incident occurred Saturday night at a Victoria nightclub when Justin Meyer, 21, said he and his partner danced together to the country song “Cowboys and Angels,” the Victoria Advocate reported.

The men said a manager approached them and told them Cactus Canyon has a policy barring two men from dancing together to country music.

Meyer’s partner, James Douglas, 30, said the manager told them they could dance together to rap or hip-hop music, but not country.

“So you’re telling me it’s OK for me to bump and grind my boyfriend to the song `Bubble Butt,’ but we can’t dance a two-step?” Douglas told the newspaper.

But Cactus Canyon’s director of operations, Robert Dillender, says the men were asked to leave because they were being disruptive.

“We’ve never kicked anyone out of the club for dancing,” he said, adding the club does not have a policy barring same-sex couples from dancing together.

However, Dillender said the club does have to “maintain the peace” under its obligation to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, the agency that issues liquor licenses. Cactus Canyon is now reviewing how it interprets that policy, he said.

“We apologize for the misunderstanding,” Dillender added.

The issue has already caught the attention of the American Civil Liberties Union in Texas, and the group plans to reach out to the couple to offer assistance.

“We encourage all people to stand up for their individual rights,” said Tom Hargis, an ACLU spokesman.

—  Steve Ramos

Texas Senate hears testimony on bill to ban anti-LGBT job discrimination

Leticia Van de Putte

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte

For the first time in history, Texas senators considered a bill this morning that would prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in the Lone Star State.

The Senate Economic Development Committee heard testimony on SB 237, filed by state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio.

Equality Texas Executive Director Chuck Smith said he and six other people testified about the personal impact and and positive effect on economic development the bill would have. Among the speakers were gay former state Rep. Glen Maxey and retired Staff Sgt. Eric Alva, who was the first Purple Heart recipient in the Iraq War.

Smith said Alva gave a “very compelling testimony” that spoke about his experience and support for the bill.

In addition, Craig Briscoe, vice president of human resources for Dell Inc., sent in a written testimony in support of the bill (read it here).

Jonathan Saenz with anti-gay Texas Values and three business organizations submitted written opposition but did not testify in person, Smith said.

Smith said overall he was impressed with the hearing and thought it went well. Concerns about an increase in lawsuits were brought up, but Smith said the bill doesn’t change the procedure for discrimination complaints. Instead, it adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s list of protected categories and complaints would be investigated like those based on race or religion.

Smith said Equality Texas and other advocates for the bill will work with lawmakers to dispel myths that businesses would be at a higher risk for lawsuits if the legislation is passed. He hopes to have enough votes to get the bill out of committee.

The committee’s seven members are: Chairman Bob Deuell, R-Greenville, Vice Chairman Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, and Kirk Watson, D-Austin.

Watch today’s committee hearing here.

—  Anna Waugh

BREAKING: Gay Scouts, leaders deliver petitions

Gay Scouts and leaders deliver boxes with 1.4 million signatures from combined Change.org petitions requesting the Boy Scouts end its national no-gays ban on Feb. 4. BSA’s Board of Directors is scheduled to vote on a policy change Feb. 6. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)

Gay Scouts and leaders deliver boxes with 1.4 million signatures from combined Change.org petitions requesting the Boy Scouts end its national no-gays ban on Monday. BSA’s Board of Directors is scheduled to vote on a policy change Feb. 6. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)

CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO FROM THE PRESS CONFERENCE

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

While the Boy Scouts Board of Directors met in Irving on Monday morning, four Scout leaders from across the country converged on BSA headquarters to deliver 1.4 million petition signatures urging the group to lift its ban on gay Scouts and leaders.

A representative from BSA was scheduled to meet with the group sometime Monday morning. When no representative appeared by 12:30 p.m., the Scouts placed the boxes of signatures at the base of the Scouting statute near the front door of BSA headquarters. A representative later came out and picked up the signatures after most members of the media had left.

Mark Anthony Dingbaum, organizing manager from Change.org, called the campaigns that resulted in 1.4 million signatures among his organization’s most successful.

“Behind all successful campaigns are powerful personal stories,” he said before introducing the Scouting leaders.

Jennifer Tyrrell, the Cub Scout mom who delivered 300,000 signatures to the Boy Scouts in July asking to be reinstated as a den mother, said she was back under much better circumstances. She recounted the day she was dismissed from the Scouts.

“We were working on a conservation project for a state park the day I was removed,” she said. “The letter said I did not meet the high standards of the Boy Scouts of America.”

Greg Bourke was an assistant Scoutmaster who was removed after serving for 10 years. He has been partnered for 30 years and has two children involved in Scouting. His partner and children were in Dallas with him.

He said last year after telling his council he is gay, he was asked to resign immediately. He has received overwhelming support from his troop, other Scout parents and even the Catholic church that sponsors his troop.

“In the name of fairness, in the name of equality, in the name of God, I ask the Executive Board to please end this harmful discrimination now,” he said.

Will Oliver, 20, is a gay Eagle Scout who began a petition on Change.org asking National Geographic channel to to condemn the Boy Scouts discrimination policy. Are You Tougher Than a Boy Scout? is scheduled to air on the National Geographic channel in March.

Oliver, who is from Massachusetts and remains in good standing with the Scouts, said one of the values Scouting taught him is not to stand by passively in the face of injustice.

“Discrimination doesn’t happen in my troop,” he said. “My council has a nondiscrimination policy.”

He said sexual orientation really doesn’t have a place in scouting and called the Scouts his refuge from the pressure of dating that he felt in school and elsewhere.

Oliver is in school at Northwestern University and met his mother and two of his brothers in Dallas. He said he was missing a test today at school but his professor, who had also been a Scout, encouraged him to make the trip and told him he could make up the exam “anytime.”

Eric Andresen represented his son at BSA headquarters. His son was refused his Eagle award after completing the requirements and then coming out.

Andresen said his son did an anti-bullying project in school for his Eagle merit project and called it ironic that the Boy Scouts turned out to be the biggest bullies his son would have to face.

“It hurts to watch what Ryan has had to go through,” he said. “Two years ago he made a big mistake. He was honest.”

The Boy Scouts board is expected to vote on whether to soften their ban on gays on Wednesday.

Brad Hankins, Campaign Director for Scouts for Equality, represented the group in Dallas today. The group was founded by Zach Wahls, an Eagle Scout raised by two moms.

Scouts for Equality group is responsible for campaigns last fall that caused several major corporate donors to stop funding the Boy Scouts.

“In seven months, we’ve built an organization comprised of thousands of alumni Eagle Scouts, as well as current Scouts and Scoutmasters, who are all very concerned about the future health of an organization we cherish — the Boy Scouts of America.” said Hankins. “We believe that this policy change must be enacted as a mitigated solution toward the final goal of ending discrimination throughout all of Scouting, lest the program be isolated on the fringe of our society. As America embraces universal equality, so should the Boy Scouts of America.”

Several community members were at Boy Scout headquarters to greet the Scouts who had come to Dallas for the delivery of petitions.

Mark “Major” Jiminez, who was arrested twice at Dallas County Records Building when he tried to obtain a marriage license with his husband, was surprised the Boy Scouts were considering a change in policy so soon after announcing the results of a two-year study last summer. Without releasing any details of the study, the Scouts said they’d concluded they needed to maintain the current ban on gays.

“I never expected to see this in my life,” Jiminez said. “I thought they’d close their doors first.”

More photos below.

—  David Taffet

UPDATE: Main Event concludes investigation, calls gay couple’s claims ‘blatantly false’

Alberto Lesmes, right, and his partner Chad Hemp.

ANNA WAUGH  |  Staff Writer

Main Event has finished its investigation into a gay Plano couple’s claims that they were told they were not a family and asked to leave the entertainment complex, concluding that their accounts are “blatantly false.”

A press release emailed to Dallas Voice on Friday explains that the investigation found the “couple’s claims of discrimination and the subsequent one-sided media accounts of the guests’ claims to be blatantly false.”

“We are disheartened by the inaccurate media accounts of what occurred while we were conducting our investigation,” Amy Johnson, Main Event marketing director, said in the release. “We are most disappointed in the false, unsubstantiated attacks that were allowed to be made against our employees who were professional, courteous, and did everything they could to ensure that every one of our guests at Main Event is completely satisfied.”

In a note above the press release, the vice president of the PR firm representing Main Event, Open Channels Group, requested that Dallas Voice remove previous stories about the incident.

“Main Event Entertainment management would appreciate your review of their investigation and respectfully requests that stories be updated and that inaccurate previous versions be removed in lieu of these facts,” Open Channel’s Anthony Spangler wrote. “After reviewing this release, we believe you will agree that the previous one-sided coverage does not reflect your publication’s standard of fairness, balance, and journalistic integrity.”

After interviewing the couple about their allegations, Dallas Voice immediately contacted Main Event in Plano and the company’s corporate office for our initial story Tuesday. Johnson said she didn’t want to comment until she had spoken to the couple.

Alberto Lesmes said he and his partner, Chad Hemp, were told they were not family and asked to leave after a manager at the Plano Main Event told them they were a problem when they wanted to switch bowling lanes. They switched once because of technical difficulties with the lane and wanted to switch again after a child from a group next to them kept using their lane.

Video footage, register transactions and employee interviews were reviewed during the investigation and “facts refute the derogatory claims made by the guests,” according to the company’s latest press release. The release states that the couple were told the venue was a family place to indicate that children would be present and were not told to leave. It also alleges the couple used profanity and racial slurs when speaking to management.

Johnson did not return calls or emails Friday inquiring whether Dallas Voice could review the video footage.

Hemp admitted to using profanity when he asked management to switch lanes the second time. He said he told the manager, “This is fucking ridiculous” after their conversation became heated.

Lesmes then came over to speak to the manager and Hemp stepped away. Lesmes said he apologized for Hemp’s language and was calm with the manager. He explained they wanted to be in a lane that was not next to an overcrowded one because the one next to them had about 15 people bowling in it and a child kept using their lane.

That was when the manager explained that Main Event is a family environment. Lesmes said he understands the manager meant kids would be there, but he took offense when the manager told him  he and Hemp were not a family after Lesmes told the manager that he was also there with his family and pointed to his partner. He asked the manager several times to clarify why he and his partner were not considered family, but the manager did not respond, he said.

Lesmes said they were asked to leave, but a server who walked up during the conversation jumped in and said he and Hemp could come over to the bar to finish their drinks since they hadn’t been there very long.

Like the company, Lesmes alleges the incident has been misconstrued by some media outlets that have picked up the story.

“We were asked to leave because the manager said to my face that we are not family,” he said.

When asked if racial slurs were used, Lesmes said “absolutely not.”

“It had nothing to do with any kind of racial issue,” he said. “We’re an interracial couple.”

Main Event staff called Lesmes to talk about the incident earlier this week, but he was dealing with a death in the family, so he couldn’t speak at the time. He said the company releasing a statement about the investigation being closed without speaking to him and his partner shows “that they don’t care.”

Hemp said he initially wanted something more than just an apology, but he said Friday that’s the only thing the couple wants, adding that they don’t expect to receive one.

Read Main Event’s full statement below.

Main Event Investigation

—  Anna Waugh

Study finds Texas ENDA would protect more than 400,000 LGBT workers

State Rep. Mike Villarreal

If the Texas Legislature passes a bill to ban anti-LGBT employment discrimination in the upcoming session filed by state Rep. Mike Villarreal, D-San Antonio, the law would protect more than 400,000 workers, a new study finds.

The Williams Institute, a prominent LGBT think tank at UCLA, estimated that 431,095 LGBT workers live in Texas, according to U.S. Census data.

Research found adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the protected categories would have a minimal impact on state agencies and the budget, estimating that the changes would result in 203 more complaints a year. The number of additional complaints came from applying the national average of 4.7 complaints alleging discrimination in the workplace for every 10,000 LGBT workers to Texas’ number of LGBT workers.

The institute focused on research from 2008 that found 37 percent of gay and lesbian respondents to a survey had experienced workplace harassment and 12 percent were fired because of their sexual orientation. A 2010 survey of transgender people revealed that 78 percent experienced mistreatment at work.

“Data from other states show that the LGBT population files discrimination complaints at a rate similar to other protected groups, such as, women and people of color filing on the basis of sex or race,” co-author Christy Mallory, Reid Rasmussen Fellow of Law & Policy, said in a release. “However, the absolute number of complaints we expect to see from LGBT people is very low, because the LGBT population is small compared to other protected populations.”

The cost of reviewing and investigating the complaints by administrators would be low, costing $267,500–$334,400 in the first year and $248,600–$310,800 each subsequent year.

“We expect that enforcing these additional complaints will only cost the state approximately $300,000 in the first year; and the expenses will drop in the following years,” said co-author M.V. Lee Badgett, Williams Institute research director. “Although there is some administrative cost associated with enforcing these laws, they can also have positive effects on businesses and the state.”

 

—  Anna Waugh

Baylor gym ends family memberships, but gay discrimination case still open

lead-01

WE ARE FAMILY | Alan Rodriguez, right, and his partner were denied a family membership at the Baylor Tom Landry Fitness Center, a popular gym in East Dallas. Rodriguez alleges Baylor is violating the city’s ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation in public accommodations. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)

The Tom Landry Fitness Center in East Dallas recently stopped offering family memberships, but the discrimination case filed last year after the gym refused to sell a family membership to a gay couple is still open.

The gym owned by Baylor Health Care System refused to sell Alan Rodriguez and his partner of 10 years a family membership in February 2011.

Phil Tyne, director of Baylor’s Tom Landry Fitness Center, told Instant Tea that the gym stopped offering family memberships three months ago because it lowered overall costs and now only offers individual memberships.

“We decided to lower all rates across the board,” he said.

Tyne said he was aware that the gym was involved in a discrimination case but said he did not know if the decision to change the membership structure was related to the case.

Rodriguez said he thought the problem had been resolved, though he had not heard that the memberships were no longer offered.

“Sounds like they both increased revenue and avoided providing discriminatory and potentially illegal services,” he told Instant Tea.

Beverly Davis, assistant director of Dallas’ Fair Housing Office, said the case is still waiting for a determination from the city attorney’s office, which is the same status it had back in June when it was featured in a Dallas Voice cover story about the 10-year anniversary of the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance.

Davis said she was unaware of any attempt at a settlement with Baylor regarding the case and said the membership decision appeared to be separate.

—  Anna Waugh

Major League Baseball to ban anti-gay discrimination after letter from Resource Center

Rafael_McDonnell

Rafael McDonnell

Major League Baseball is set to ban anti-gay discrimination as part of a new collective bargaining agreement to be released today, following a request from Resource Center Dallas.

Last month, after the National Football League added sexual orientation to its nondiscrimination policy, Resource Center’s Rafael McDonnell penned a letter to MLB Commissioner Bud Selig calling for pro baseball to follow suit.

McDonnell received responses from both Selig and MLB Executive Vice President Robert Manfred Jr. (Read their letters here and here.)

“While it is my policy not to comment on matters currently on the table, I think it is safe to say the issue you have raised will be addressed in a positive way,” Manfred wrote to McDonnell on Nov. 3.

Today, the New York Daily News is reporting that the new MLB collective bargaining agreement — which is set to be released this afternoon — does in fact ban anti-gay discrimination. From the Daily News:

Major League Baseball, which saw Jackie Robinson break the color barrier in 1947, Tuesday will announce incremental progress in another civil rights issue. The new collective bargaining agreement adds “sexual orientation” to its section on discrimination, a person with direct knowledge of the agreement told the Daily News.

Article XV, Section A of the MLB’s expiring Basic Agreement, in effect from 2006-2011, states: “The provisions of this Agreement shall be applied to all Players covered by this Agreement without regard to race, color, religion or national origin.”

In the new agreement, which will be made public Tuesday afternoon, the words “sexual orientation” will be added to the equivalent section.

McDonnell has also written a letter to the National Basketball Association calling for the NBA to ban anti-gay discrimination, but he said he has yet to receive a response.

Major League Soccer added sexual orientation protections in 2004, while the National Hockey League did so in 2005.

—  John Wright