Queer Voices

Portland Trailblazers Back Gay Marriage, Becoming First NBA Team To Do So

The Portland Trailblazers certainly lived up to their name last week -- in a historic move, the athletes became the first NBA team to publicly take a stance on the battle for same-sex marriage rights.

Specifically, the team aligned themselves with the Oregon United For Marriage initiative, a coalition attempting to get the Freedom to Marry and Religious Protection initiative on the state's ballot in the upcoming election, The Oregonian is reporting.

Additionally, the move reportedly makes the Portland Trailblazers the first team of the "Big Four" branches of the sports world -- basketball, baseball, football and hockey -- to endorse marriage rights for same-sex couples.

“The Portland Trail Blazers are in support of the Freedom to Marry and Religious Protection ballot initiative," the team said in a statement. "We do so as believers in individual choice as a fundamental right of all people.”

The Portland Timbers and the Portland Thorns FC, the city's men's and women's professional soccer teams respectively, also endorsed the ballot initiative for marriage equality in Oregon, according to the Portland Mercury.

“Professional sports are a barometer of where the country is going,” Marriage Equality USA spokesman Stuart Gaffney told reporters. “For a long time professional sports teams have been silent on LGBT rights and that time is coming to a close as we see right now in Oregon.”

Oregon became the 20th state this week to have a marriage equality lawsuit filed in an effort to challenge the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, instigated by attorneys Lake Perriguey and Lea Ann Easton. Naming Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum (among others) as defendants, the suit joins Oregon United for Marriage's similar legal challenge to the same-sex marriage ban.

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