If pro athletes keep weighing in on gay rights (both pro and con), we’re gonna have to get a subscription to Sports Illustrated: Our mates at OutSports have a great interview with Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, who has recorded a series of radio spots for Minnesotans for Equality, which is battling a marriage-equality ban in the November election.
Earlier this year Kluwe tweeted support for same-sex marriage, and was contacted by a member of the group about doing an PSA. He was happy to lend his voice, saying “I’ve always believed that people are inherently the same and should have the same rights and equal protection under the law.”
Outsports: In the 30-second ad, you referenced families a lot. Families are the thing thrown at supporters of gay marriage because we’re told we have to protect the traditional family. Was that a conscious decision on your part to mention family several times?
Kluwe: I had some input in writing it and I wanted to make sure it was something that would resonate with people. I don’t think a lot of people realize that family is family. It doesn’t matter who you are; the people you grow up with, that’s your family. If you find out your kid is gay, are you going to love him any less? Because if you do, then you’re probably not doing parenting for the right reasons.
One of my wife’s brothers is gay and I know him and his partner [who live in California] would love to get married but they can’t.
Kluwe: None that I know of. Honestly, I’ve never really asked anyone. I’m more interested in if you’re going to play video games with me! Honestly, I don’t care. People don’t ask me what goes on in my bedroom and I try and give them the same privilege…
Outsports: Do you still think you’d be involved in this issue if you didn’t have a relation who was gay?
Kluwe: I would definitely still be signing up for it. One of the things my parents [Ron and Sandy] brought me up with is that you should have equality for everyone. I would like to think I have a pretty strong sense of justice and right and wrong. [The proposed marriage amendment] is just blatant discrimination and that’s not right, that’s wrong. …
One of the best things parents can teach their children is to have the courage to go out and find your own answers in life. While we can give you a framework, it’s up to you to live your own life.
Later, OutSports’s Jim Buzinski asks Kluwe how he thinks the battle in Minnesota is going.
Kluwe: I see a slight edge right now among people who want to defeat it. Unfortunately, we’re going to have to wait to see if the people who want to have it pass resort to the kinds of fear tactics they generally use. “If the gays marry, civilization is going to be ruined! It will be the downfall of everything!”
Unfortunately, that seems to work with a lot of people because it hits that gut, instinctual emotional level—rather than thinking it through and realizing it’s a specious argument.
Kluwe also discusses how he’s raising his kids to be tolerant, the culture of the locker room and the odds of there being an out Viking any time soon.
We have to admit, though, that we did have a guilty laugh at one unintentional gaffe this right-on pro made. When asked if NFL players gossip about who might be gay, Kluwe said “not really,” because it’s so hard to tell who is or isn’t: “There’s probably guys in the league who think that I’m probably gay because of the position I play and the stances I take, but my wife would probably beg to differ,” Kluwe says. “Special teams, we’re kind of the bottom of the totem pole.”
We really need to grow up.
Listen to Kluwe’s spot below