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An ethics panel has criticized a Maryland lawmaker for using his official letterhead to urge the owner of the Baltimore Ravens to restrain a football player from publicly supporting same-sex marriage.
Democratic Del. Emmett Burns of Baltimore County is confirming he received what he described as "a cautionary letter'' from the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics. The panel did not recommend further action.
Burns says he accepts the panel's finding, and he says he never meant to infringe on First Amendment rights to try to silence linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, who remained active on the issue.
Burns, a Baptist pastor, says he was representing many of his constituents by speaking out against same-sex marriage, which Maryland voters approved in November.
The letter itself is confidential, and has not been released publicly.