Irish boxer Micky Ward withdraws support for GOP’s Scott Brown over marriage equality stance

Irish boxing legend Micky Ward

Senator Scott Brown's plans for a quick endorsement from Irish American boxing legend Micky Ward, whose epic life story was told in the Oscar winning drama The Fighter, was upended on Thursday when Ward learned about the Massachusetts Republican's stand on labor unions and gay marriage.

According to the Boston Globe, Ward had called the paper to endorse the candidate but then called back about a half-hour later to reverse his decision.

"I can’t support Scott Brown," Ward confessed. "I just can’t do it."

The former boxer added: "I found out Scott Brown is anti-union and I’m a Teamster guy. I found out he’s also against gay marriage, and I say if you love someone, you should have the same rights no matter who you are."

On hearing of his decision, Union bosses and national spokespersons for the gay community expressed their delight and gratitude for Ward's support.

As a state senator, Brown opposed gay marriage, but his recent vote to repeal the military’s Don't Ask, Don't Tell ban on gays serving in the armed forces suggested to some his attitude was evolving.

Brown has also recently stated that gay marriage is settled law in Massachusetts, which was a nod the political reality and the difficulty of reversing it. He has stopped short of endorsing marriage equality for gays and is still thought to oppose it, however.

Brown’s Democratic challenger is Elizabeth Warren, who enjoys strong support from some of her party’s traditional labor supporters, and Brown himself is himself a union member.

Ward's decision to withdraw his endorsement caused a flurry of comment but Brown spokeswoman Alleigh Marre attempted to play it down telling the press: "Scott Brown respects Micky Ward and respects his views."

In Massachusetts and nationally, Ward has become a beloved figure known for his skill in the ring and the size of his heart, both of which chronicled in the award winning movie of his life featuring actors Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, and Oscar winner Melissa Leo.

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