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Photos | Former Miami Heat star Tim Hardaway signs first petition to legalize gay marriage in Florida

Previously: Brito files to begin statewide petition drive, hoping to end Florida's gay-marriage ban in 2014

BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com

Former Miami Heat star Tim Hardaway on Wednesday night signed the first petition seeking to amend Florida's Constitution to define state marriage as a “union of two persons.”

Hardaway nearly lost his post-basketball career in 2007 after he told Dan LeBatard on the radio, "I hate gay people."

Shortly after, Hardaway took classes at YES Institute, a South Miami-based suicide prevention group that focuses on LGBT youth.

He raised money four years ago in South Beach for The Trevor Project, a national suicide hotline for gay youth.

On June 21, Miami-Dade County lesbian activist Vanessa Brito announced she would head up a group called Equal Marriage Florida, which is seeking to amend the Florida Constitution to define state marriage as a “union of two persons.”

Florida voters in 2008 passed Amendment 2, which banned civil unions and defined marriage as between one man and one woman.

After getting word that her petition had been accepted by the state of Florida, Brito launched the Equal Marriage Florida public drive Wednesday night with a ceremonial signing by Hardaway at  Scully's Tavern, 9809 SW 72nd St.

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Very cool, but who's that dude standing behind Tim in this pic?

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