Jack Burkman, the lobbyist who proposed a legal ban on gay National Football League (NFL) players and declared that he knew thirty-six House members and six senators that would sign up for it, isn’t getting quite the response he hoped for—but he’s still refusing to drop the gay segregation ideas.
According to ThinkProgress, just a day after he announced his proposal, the California-based green energy company DC Solar Solutions, Inc cut all ties with him, effective immediately.
In a joint statement, CEO Jeffrey Carpoff and COO Paulette Carpoff said, “DC Solar does not condone or support Mr. Burkman’s homophobic views, and since learning about his misguided efforts to write legislation banning gay athletes from the NFL, we have ended our relationship with him. DC Solar values diversity within our company and within our communities, and we do not tolerate discrimination of any sort. As a company working to address issues about our country’s future, we have no intention of working with those who are stuck in the past.”
Additionally, according to The Hill, the lobbying firm giant Holland & Knight publically distanced itself from Burkman, something firms usually do more quietly. Burkman was once an associate there, but is currently working as the CEO of Burkman Associates LLC.
The senior communications manager of the company, Linda G. Butler, responded to an inquiry from The Hill, “Holland & Knight is proud of its support of the LGBT community and we condemn Jack Burkman’s current efforts.”
In spite of the major financial blows—DC Solution had paid him $30,000 in the fourth quarter of 2013 alone—Burkman is refusing to reconsider his views. He told TIME magazine, “This is not about any form of discrimination. It is not about putting a straight man ahead of a gay man or a gay man ahead of a straight man.
“It is about re-enforcing and protecting American values of decency and civility. Should NFL players shower with NFL cheerleaders? Certainly not. Given this, why should straight NFL players shower with gay NFL players?”
Speaking to 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, he claimed that the bill is not about banning gays from sports, but separating gay men from straight men “where nudity is involved.”
He stated, “A lot of people say it’s about discrimination or homophobia, [but]it’s not about any of those things. We have basic standards of civility and common decency in our society. For instance, you don’t have the cheerleaders go in and take a shower with the football players because we believe men and women should be separate, for reasons that they’re sexually attracted to each other and other reasons we all understand.
“If you separate men and women, doesn’t it make sense that you would separate a gay man and a straight man?”
If that’s true, however, he released the wrong draft of the bill. His proposed legislation, titled “The American Decency Act of 2014,” states:
Section 1. The National Football League and all teams thereof are hereby prohibited from employing self-declared homosexual football players. This prohibition shall only apply in cases where a football player has openly declared himself to be a homosexual.
Section 2. The prohibition detailed in article (A) above shall not apply to any team of the National Football League that provides facilities for homosexual players which are entirely separate and distinct from the facilities used by heterosexual players.
Section 6. Each violation…shall result in a fine of not less than $3 million [and]not more than $8 million.
Burkman has not named any of the House or Senate members he claims will sign on to the bill. As a lobbyist, he cannot introduce legislation himself.
Another voice in the debate is Burkman’s own brother, Jim—who happens to be gay himself. Speaking to the Huffington Post, Jim Burkman said, “I told him years ago he should back off on gay issues, and if he ever crosses the line I would be happy to speak up as his gay brother. Today I felt he crossed the line.”
He also sent a tweet, much more strongly worded, to openly gay NFL candidate Michael Sam:
— James Burkman (@jamesburkman) February 24, 2014