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Editorial: 'American Decency Act' is homophobic and unconstitutional

By Editorial Board
On March 30, 2014

Earlier this month, conservative lobbyist Jack Burkman announced that several Republicans in Congress were planning to introduce "The American Decency Act of 2014," which would make it illegal for openly gay players to play in the NFL unless the team "provides facilities for homosexual players which are entirely separate and distinct from heterosexual players." This bill is unconstitutional and highly discriminatory and is anything but decent. Thankfully, it stands no chance of ever passing. All Americans should oppose it.
One major problem with the bill is that it bans homosexuals from making a living in a certain way unless extreme conditions are met by the employer. Essentially, the bill requires segregation between homosexual and heterosexual players. Not only is this bad for the gay players, but it is bad for the whole team. Athletic teams build chemistry by using the same facilities and being with each other at all times. When Barry Bonds was still active in baseball, many of his teammates criticized him for frequently using different training facilities and refusing to be with the team except when absolutely necessary. Even though Bonds was one of the best players in baseball at the time, this hurt the Giants' team chemistry and they never won anything with him on the roster. Even in 2001, when Bonds hit a record 73 home runs, the Giants failed to make the postseason. Granted, Bonds chose to use separate facilities and ignore his teammates, while homosexual players would be forced to, but it would still be detrimental to the team, not beneficial as Burkman claims.
A more conservative political argument against the bill is that it interferes with the operations of a business. Republicans generally oppose intrusive government regulations in business, but that is exactly what this bill is. In fact, it is even worse than broad business regulations because it restricts one specific business. No matter what their views on homosexuality, true conservatives should oppose this bill as an unnecessary business regulation.
If the bill does pass, it will likely be ruled unconstitutional almost immediately. Thankfully, there is almost no chance of that happening in this day and age. Attitudes toward homosexuals have changed significantly in the last few decades, and almost nobody would support banning them from an entire line of business. Openly gay NFL draft prospect Michael Sam tweeted that Burkman would "need a Delorian" to pass that bill, referencing the time traveling car from the "Back to the Future" movies. This bill might have passed a few decades ago, but there is no way it will pass today. The fact that the vast majority of society views it as ridiculous is a testament to how far we have come.  


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