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Hall of Famers Ernie Banks and Richard Dent support gay marriage in Illinois

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Two Hall of Fame athletes signed a letter supporting a gay marriage bill on its way to the Illinois House.

Former Chicago Cubs shortstop Ernie Banks and former Chicago Bears defensive end Richard Dent, along with former Bears Hunter Hillenmeyer and Brendan Ayanbadejo, wrote that the “Illinois General Assembly should act now and give same-sex couples the freedom to marry.”

“In sports, any time a player is not treated with fairness and respect, the game is diminished,” the letter reads in part. “Similarly, treating any group of people as second-class citizens hurts us all, because discrimination is wrong no matter whom the target is.”

A bill that would make Illinois the 10th state to legalize gay marriage was approved by the Senate and has the support of Gov. Pat Quinn. It now moves to the House where it promises to be more contentious.

Ayanbadejo, who now plays for the Baltimore Ravens, has beenn outspoken advocate for gay rights. Along with Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe,  Ayanbadejo wrote and filed an amicus brief in support of same-sex marriage in California last month.

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