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Still, even over the past year there have been significant overall victories in gay and lesbian rights, most notably two U.S. Supreme Court decisions in June. One ruling cleared the way for ending a ban on same-sex marriages in California; the other struck down a 1996 law passed by Congress that banned federal recognition of same-sex marriages.

It remains to be seen how growing tolerance extends to the NFL playing field.

“I think the point that’s being made in a lot of the discussion is, ‘Let’s just move on,’” Swangard said. “If the guy makes a team, then he makes the team. His sexual orientation shouldn’t be the story.”