Though the last few weeks have seen the NFL grow leaps and bounds in its public endorsement of LGBT rights, Baltimore Ravens center Matt Birk is running defense for traditional marriage.
Birk, a native Minnesotan, used to play for the Vikings, home of the unapologetically outspoken Chris Kluwe, while his current position with the Ravens puts him at odds with teammate and other vocal gay marriage supporter, Brendon Ayanbadejo. Birk respects Kluwe’s and Ayandadejo’s right to voice their opinions, but he wanted to “set the record straight about what the marriage debate is and is not about, and to clarify that not all NFL players think redefining marriage is a good thing.”
Birk writes in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:
Same-sex unions may not affect my marriage specifically, but it will affect my children — the next generation. Ideas have consequences, and laws shape culture. Marriage redefinition will affect the broader well-being of children and the welfare of society. As a Christian and a citizen, I am compelled to care about both.
I am speaking out on this issue because it is far too important to remain silent. People who are simply acknowledging the basic reality of marriage between one man and one woman are being labeled as “bigots” and “homophobic.” Aren’t we past that as a society?
Don’t we all have family members and friends whom we love who have same-sex attraction? Attempting to silence those who may disagree with you is always un-American, but especially when it is through name-calling, it has no place in respectful conversation.
A defense of marriage is not meant as an offense to any person or group. All people should be afforded their inalienable American freedoms. There is no opposition between providing basic human rights to everyone and preserving marriage as the sacred union of one man and one woman.
The one thing that always grinds our gears is whenever anyone says that defending marriage is not meant as an insult to anyone, or a denial of anyone’s freedoms, when what it all boils down to is a matter of civil rights. Denying gay people the right to marry is basically a relegation to second-class citizenship. Or as Kluwe once so eloquently put it, “You know what having these rights will make gays? Full-fledged American citizens just like everyone else, with the freedom to pursue happiness and all that entails.”
We’re not calling Matt Birk a “narcissistic fromunda stain” or anything, but c’mon.