WASHINGTON -- Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said Thursday that he won't support a proposal offered by a Republican lobbyist to ban gay athletes from playing in the National Football League.
"I think what it amounts to is the locker room in the NFL is full of women reporters, so it’s kind of hard to make an argument against a gay person in there, whatever their gender," King told The Huffington Post at the Tea Party Patriots' fifth anniversary celebration.
King's position on the issue might come as a surprise to some of his constituents. In the past, he has declared that same-sex marriage, which became legal in Iowa in 2009, was part of a socialist agenda, and that it would compromise Americans' ability to "teach our constitutional values."
This Monday, lobbyist Jack Burkman said that he is preparing legislation to prevent gay athletes from playing in the NFL, in response to the recent announcement from University of Missouri football star Michael Sam that he is gay. Burkman told HuffPost that one senator and five members of the House of Representatives were interested in co-sponsoring the bill.
King emphasized that he wants to see the Republican Party renew its focus on social issues, including same-sex marriage. But still, he said, he's not a fan of Burkman's bill.
"I don't support the idea that we advertise our sexuality, whatever it might be," said King. "So, therefore I don't support the idea of legislation addressing anyone's unidentified, unadvertised sexuality."
Burkman's brother, who is gay, has dismissed the proposal, calling it an "attention grab and media grab to pander to those folks who pay [Jack] to lobby on their behalf." If that's the case, the strategy hasn't been totally effective: At least one client has severed its relationship with Burkman's firm, citing "Mr. Burkman's homophobic views."