(This story was published in 2007).
After weeks of dodging questions, Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy finally publicly acknowledged his opposition to same-sex marriage and his support of an anti-gay organization’s efforts to suppress gay rights, in a speech Tuesday at an annual fund-raising dinner for the Indiana Family Institute. The IFI is one of the leading proponents of an Indiana state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, SJR-7.
"I appreciate the stance they're taking, and I embrace that stance," Dungy said, according to the Indianapolis Star. "IFI is saying what the Lord says. You can take that and make your decision on which way you want to be. I'm on the Lord's side."
Dungy did not specifically detail his opposition to other gay rights. However, his "I'm on the Lord's side" statement and support of a same-sex marriage ban will give many reason to believe he opposes gay rights of any kind and that he would not support having a gay player on his team.
The annual fundraising dinner is the organization’s largest of the year. Past dinners have attracted around 400 donors; Dungy’s appearance, just six weeks after his Super Bowl victory, drew 700 people, more than IFI had ever had before. According to the Indianapolis Star, the event raised over $70,000 for the group’s efforts to fight gay rights.
Since Bilerico.com, an Indiana-based gay blog, first reported Dungy’s upcoming appearance a week before the Super Bowl, Dungy has refused to answer any questions about IFI or his position on gay issues.
Earlier Tuesday, the Indiana state legislature recognized the Colts and Dungy. “You're not only a great team but you're great people," House Speaker Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend, said, according to the Associated Press.
Dungy’s Christian faith has been a constant theme in his coaching. He has been praised by many for is strong character and faith in God, and his willingness to instill that religious belief in his team. He repeatedly praised God for his team’s success in its Super Bowl run, saying after his team’s championship victory, "The Lord orchestrated this.”
There is a hearing on SJR-7 scheduled for today.