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Chicago City Council passes resolution supporting LGBT athletes

The Last Closet recruits second city to pass resolution in quest to open men's pro sports for gay athletes. Chicago Bears and Fire offer their support.

Matthew Stockman

The Last Closet has scored another win as the Chicago City Council today unanimously passed a resolution in support of LGBT athletes. The City of San Francisco last year passed a similar resolution at the urging of The Last Closet, a campaign to end homophobia in men's pro sports.

From The Last Closet Web site:

"Specifically this resolution encourages the Commissioners from major sports leagues - Major League Baseball, National Football League, National Basketball Association, and Major League Soccer - to state, on camera, that they support their gay players, will invite them to come out, and will take all action necessary to ensure their safety."

Several league commissioners -- NHL's Gary Bettman, NFL's Roger Goodell and NBA's David Stern -- have made very supportive statements in recent weeks. The NHL has entered into a partnership with the You Can Play project; The NFL has sent standards and practices to the 32 member teams about creating an inclusive environment for all LGBT employees.

The Last Closet will continue to push commissioners to make supportive statements and create league policies that protect gay athletes.

"Visibility is the key to breaking down the underpinnings of anti-gay behaviors," said The Last Closet co-founder Fawn Yacker. "As more of our celebrities and leaders make themselves known, there is more opportunity for the public to 'get to know us.' This resolution and specifically The Last Closet campaign, calls on sports leaders to take the lead and be visible in their support of their gay athletes."

People who testified on behalf of the proclamation include Chicago Fire communications director Dan Lobring, ESPN.com writer Christina Kahrl, professional MMA fighter Fallon Fox, former TCU football player Vince Pryor, GO! Athletes ambassador Sean Coyne and National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame executive director Bill Gubrud. The Chicago Bears sent a statement of support.

You can read the resolution here.