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Tim Hardaway, once anti-gay, stands up for gay rights in El Paso

This is one of the most positive stories I've seen in a long time: Former NBA player Tim Hardaway, who in 2007 said he "hates" gay people, is now campaigning in El Paso, Texas, against the recall of three city officials who restored domestic partnership benefits after they were stripped in a ballot referendum. Hardaway played college basketball at Texas-El Paso.

Religious conservatives are behind the recall effort, saying they "think it's wrong to use tax dollars to support what they believe is an immoral lifestyle." Hardaway fired back in the El Paso Times:

"I would say grow up and catch up with the times," he said. "It's all around the world."

Hardaway said that what made his earlier statements especially shameful is that, as a black man, he should understand discrimination. And so should El Paso, as it has in the past, he said.

He recalled how in 1966 at the height of the civil rights movement, his former coach, [Texas-El Paso coach] Don Haskins, led a team with five black starters past an all-white University of Kentucky team to win a national championship.

"A lot of people said, 'What is Don Haskins doing?' " Hardaway said. "But El Paso understood."

Hardaway, who went to counseling to deal with his homophobia, shows that is possible for people to change their views. So often we see people apologize for anti-gay comments and it ends there. Hardaway is walking the walk by standing up to bigotry and discrimination. Bravo for him!

Hat tip to Billy Witz