Matt Birk of the Baltimore Ravens football team wrote publicly about his disdain for gay and lesbian marriage rights on Sunday, Sept. 30. His opinion piece appeared in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Calling marriage a "sacred institution," Birk claimed that, "as a Christian," he believed that man-woman marriage is "privileged and recognized" in order for children to be raised in stable homes.
In a related video, he claims it is "God's will ... to stand up, and fight for it, and protect one of the gifts he blesses us with." Birk is specifically trying to get voters to pass an amendment in Minnesota that will change that state's constitution to read: "Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota." In part, he wrote:
"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...."
"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."
Birk's poorly reasoned and self-contradicting argument missed many of the key points regarding civil marriage. He primarily focused on child-rearing, a parroting of the talking points oft heard by anti-gay political organizations like the National Organization for Marriage. Birk failed to address the fact that couples which will not have children are still allowed to be legally married. For example, people who are not capable of bearing children, seniors who are beyond childbearing years, and those couples which choose not to have children are all allowed to be legally married. Bearing and raising children is simply not a requirment for the approval and distribution of marriage licenses in America.
Birk went on to indicate that his children's future will be negatively impacted, but again, he failed to give a single logical example of how that would happen. He also used the biased terminology of many socially conservative politicians -- "defense of marriage," and "redefining marriage" -- to justify the continued exclusion and unequal treatment of same-sex couples.
Birk's diatribe seems to be a direct reply to Brendon Ayanbadejo, a fellow Raven, who has for months tried to encourage and generate support for same-sex marriages in Maryland. Other sports figures, like Chris Kluwe of the Minnesota Vikings, have begun to stand up for marriage equality, as well.
A video featuring Birk can be viewed below. He claims his views are "Catholic values." And, at the end of the video, the Minnesota Catholic Conference is noted as the originator of the political ad. Catholic organizations have been known to be involved in efforts to block same-sex marriages in states like Maryland, California, Massachusetts, New York and the District of Columbia.
UPDATE: Read Chris' detailed rebuttal to Matt Birk that was posted at Pioneer Press earlier today, Oct. 1.