Hardaway signs Florida petition for marriage equality

By : Staff Report
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Former Miami Heat star Tim Hardaway became the first person to sign a petition to get a marriage equality constitutional amendment on Florida’s ballot.

“If you’re married you’re married-you should see your significant other in the hospital, make choices for your significant other if you need to make those choices,” Hardaway said July 3 as he showed his support for the effort that would legalize same-sex marriage in Florida.

Hardaway shared his views at Scully’s Tavern in Kendall, where he also penned his signature to a petition from Equal Marriage Florida, which wants the state constitution amended to define marriage as a “union of two persons,” instead of between one man and one woman.

More than 60% of Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages in 2008.

The significance of Hardaway’s endorsement is huge, especially since he has seemed to come full circle since a 2007 radio interview.

“I hate gay people,” he said in 2007. “So I let it be known. I don’t like gay people. I don’t like to be around gay people. I’m homophobic.”

But on July 3, he apologized, adding that those comments were “truly, truly wrong.”

Hardaway said gay cousins and relatives of his sat him down and talked with him since that radio show and he saw things from a different perspective.

“It was very, very, very heartfelt from them,” he said.

Hardaway said he is making amends-and since his infamous interview he has put in time with organizations that help LGBT youth.

Vanessa Brito, the chairperson of Equal Marriage Florida, has been by his side-and caught flack for it.

“I’ve gotten a lot of heat,” she told South Florida’s NBC affiliate WTVJ. “And criticism from the gay community-even from the mainstream community.”

Brito told the station she is touched not just by Hardaway’s tolerance, but by the fact he owned up to a mistake-and has become a voice for the initiative.

Brito said the initiative protects religious freedom, as it states that no religious organization can be required to officiate a marriage to which it objects.

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