WASHINGTON -- The Republican lobbyist promising to introduce a bill banning gays from the National Football League unveiled the text of that legislation on Thursday.
The bill, titled "The American Decency Act of 2014," would make it illegal for "self-declared homosexual football players" to join an NFL team unless it "provides facilities for homosexual players which are entirely separate and distinct from the facilities used by heterosexual players." A violation of that provision would result in a fine between $3 million and $8 million.
Pushed by lobbyist Jack Burkman, CEO of Burkman Associates LLC, the bill would give the Department of Justice the power to enforce the ban.
The idea that the measure would ever make it into law is patently absurd. Burkman himself told The Huffington Post that he'd only been able to secure the support of a handful of members of the House of Representatives and just one senator. Notably, he declined to offer any actual names.
Burkman has faced derision for even bringing up the proposal. Several of his clients have expressed their disapproval and at least one has cut ties with his firm. In an interview with The Huffington Post, Burkman's younger brother –- an openly gay doctor in Seattle -– said he thought the entire thing was a publicity stunt and strongly doubted that a bill would even materialize.
But Burkman has insisted that this is a matter of personal conviction for him.
"I felt that if the NFL doesn't have any morals, and people like [Commissioner] Roger Goodell, who are just go-along-get-along guys, just want to appease advertisers, appease corporate America and all that stuff," he said earlier this week, "I figured, well, it is time for conservatives in Congress to step in and define morality for them."
The full text of the bill is below, as provided by Burkman's public relations firm:
RESOLVED by the U.S. House of Representatives of the United States of America, that the following article is proposed as federal law under the jurisdiction of the United States of America, enforceable by Executive action.
BE it enacted by the House of Representatives and by the Senate of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that:
Section 1. The National Football League and all teams thereof are hereby prohibited from employing self-declared homosexual football players. This prohibition shall only apply in cases where a football player has openly declared himself to be a homosexual.
Section 2. The prohibition detailed in article (A) above shall not apply to any team of the National Football League that provides facilities for homosexual players which are entirely separate and distinct from the facilities used by heterosexual players.
Section 3. Provisions (A) and (B) above shall pre-empt all relevant state law.
Section 4. The US Department of Justice shall have the power to enforce this legislation by all appropriate means.
Section 5. Should one part of this legislation be deemed at any point unconstitutional, all other parts shall be considered separate and entirely severable for Federal Constitutional purposes.
Section 6. Each violation of (A) and (B) above shall result in a fine of not less than $3 million not more than $8 million.