Matt Birk, the starting center for the Baltimore Ravens and former player for the Minnesota Vikings, wrote an op-ed published this weekend in The Minneapolis Star Tribune that detailed the reasons why he is against gay marriage.
In the op-ed, he wrote, “it is important to set the record straight about what the marriage debate is all about, and to clarify that not all NFL players think redefining marriage is a good thing.”
Birk may have been referring to a controversy that ensued after a Maryland legislator wrote a letter to the Ravens’ ownership to silence Brendon Ayanbadejo, a linebacker for the team, after he came out in support of gay marriage.
Birk wrote that he believes both a mother and a father play a vital role in raising a child.
“Same-sex unions may not affect my marriage specifically, but it will affect my children—the next generation,” wrote Birk. “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,” continued Birk. “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?”
Birk, who is a native Minnesotan, finished the op-ed by encouraging people to “preserve and promote a healthy, authentic promarriage culture in this upcoming election.”
Birk’s thoughts come at a controversial time for gay marriage in both Minnesota and Maryland. In Minnesota, a state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage will be on the ballot in November. In Maryland, Question 6 will ask the state’s voters whether to uphold a law passed in 2012 that allows same-sex couples to get a marriage license starting in 2013.
Birk’s teammate Ayanbadejo defended Birk’s stance on Twitter on Monday night.
“Matt Birk is an amazing father, teammate, man!” Tweeted Ayanbadejo. “Even if he & I disagree on marriage equality we agree on 95% of other issues.”
At least one other NFL player hasn’t been so supportive. Birk’s former teammate and current Minnesota kicker Chris Kluwe, who previously wrote a screed about the Maryland legislator who attempted to silence Ayanbadejo, called Birk’s stance “wrong.”
“If you want us to understand why same-sex marriage is bad for kids, you need to provide some sort of substantial evidence,” wrote Kluwe in an op-ed published on TwinCities.com. "Your argument lacks facts, sources, or statistics."
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