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Gay soccer player Collin Martin joins other out athletes backing Pete Buttigieg for president

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Collin Martin, an openly gay MLS player, likes how openly gay candidate Pete Buttigieg handles his religion.

MLS: Minnesota United FC at Colorado Rapids
Collin Martin plays for Minnesota United in MLS.
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Another high-profile openly gay pro athlete has endorsed the only gay major party candidate running for president.

Collin Martin, who plays for Minnesota United in MLS, endorsed South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is openly gay and running for the Democratic nomination. Martin joins other prominent out LGBTQ athletes who have endorsed Buttigieg.

In a post on Instagram, Martin explained the reasons behind his endorsement:

I’ve always been a man of faith but growing up as a closeted gay man in the Episcopal Church it was tough to imagine a world where I belonged, let alone a world where I could live my truth.

Athletes like me are told to keep quiet about politics but I refuse to sit on the sidelines when my community is under attack, especially by politicians who use faith as an excuse to discriminate. That’s why I’m proud to endorse @pete.buttigieg for president.

Pete’s proven that he’s got the experience and ability to communicate his message of unity and inclusion in even the most difficult of spaces.

Now more than ever, we need a president who will protect and defend LGBTQ rights as if they were his own. Pete represents a new generation of leadership that our country deserves.

I’m so proud to back Pete’s historic campaign and to see an openly gay man of faith welcomed on that 2020 debate stage for exactly who he is.

Martin, who came out in June 2018, told Buzzfeed News he has become enamored by Buttigieg, especially in how he talks about religion.

Martin pointed to Buttigieg’s remarks in April aimed at Vice President Mike Pence, when he said, “If you have a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”

As a gay man of faith, Martin said, he thought to himself during that moment, “This guy just really gets it.”

What’s cool about Martin supporting Buttigieg is that this is the first time a viable openly gay candidate is running for president, meaning it’s the first time an LGBTQ athlete can endorse someone like themselves.

Martin is not the only out LGBTQ athlete who has endorsed Buttigieg. Olympic diving legend Greg Louganis told Cheddar News: “He’s a genuine person, he is very intelligent, he served in the military. He’s got so much going for him, and he is not just a gay man.”

Greg Berlanti, the husband of former soccer player Robbie Rogers, donated $5,600 (the max for a couple). Former NBA player Jason Collins donated $500 to Buttigieg in May, and former Olympic equestrian athlete Robert Dover also supports Buttigieg.

As we track who other prominent LGBTQ sports people endorse, I bet we see a range of choices.

Buttigieg is running fifth in the crowded Democratic presidential field in the latest polling averages compiled by Real Clear Politics, but has raised a lot of money and is seen as a dark horse should any of the top candidates stumble or drop out.

The mayor was one of three candidates who released their proposals for addressing LGBTQ issues on Thursday. You can read an edited version of Buttigieg’s in the Washington Blade. During an LGBTQ issues forum on CNN Thursday night, trans protesters interrupted Buttigieg.

He will be one of the candidates on stage Tuesday at the next Democratic debate.