Part of Outsports’ series on our 100 most important moments in gay sports history.
Sports, 2011: Sean Avery was not the first pro athlete to come out for gay marriage (NFL players Scott Fujita and Brendan Ayanbadejo beat him to it), but his announcement this spring made bigger news.
Avery made a video to support same-sex marriage in New York, which got people's attention because of the timeliness of the topic and for who the spokesman was. Avery is maybe the one NHL player people love to hate, so his stance seemed at odds with his on-ice reputation (as if athletes have to act the same way off the field as on it.
Avery has an interest in fashion and has lived in Los Angeles and now New York, so he knows a lot of gay people, and for him, same-sex marriage is a pretty simple proposition:
I treat everyone the way I expect to be treated, and that applies to marriage. … Committed couples should be able to marry the person they love. Join me in supporting marriage equality.
His support generated a lot of news coverage and made Avery the most prominent straight sports ally for gay equality.
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