On Monday, Cleveland Browns linebacker, Scott Fujita, published a powerful essay in support of marriage equality. In the piece, which was posted to The New York Times, the player writes about confronting the issue because his daughters asked him a question he couldn’t answer: “Why aren’t Clare and Lesa married?”
“I don’t know how to explain to them what ‘inferior’ means or why their country treats our friends as such,” Fujita writes. “I don’t want to tell them that ‘Yes, our friends love each other just like Mommy and Daddy love each other, but that their love is considered ‘less than.'”
Fujita addresses the intolerance by mentioning what his own family went through (dealing with racial intolerance and his father being born in an internment camp). He also reveals what pushed him to speak out on the issue:
“Years ago, my wife and I became friendly with a young woman whose teenage brother committed suicide after coming out to an unsuspecting and unsupportive father. This woman explained that her father was a football guy, a “man’s man” — whatever that means. She challenged me to speak up for her lost brother because, as she said, the only way to change the heart and mind of someone like her father was for him to hear that people he admires would embrace someone like his son.
“I hope that soon after Tuesday’s arguments in front of the Supreme Court, people like me won’t have to speak up for those sons or daughters. No one owns the definition of love. It comes in all shapes and sizes. As Toni Morrison wrote, ‘Definitions belong to the definer, not the defined.’ One thing I know for certain is that you can’t put a face on love, and you can’t tell me what a family is supposed to look like.”
Fujita’s essay comes ahead of the oral arguments to be heard at the Supreme Court regarding Prop 8 and DOMA. You can read the full essay here.