I said I would not make Wesleying posts from abroad, broke my rule to post about the Walden student forum, and find myself breaking my own rule again to post about this letter from Chris Kluwe to state legislator Emmett C. Burns, Jr. because, frankly, it was just too awesome to not share.
The situation: as early as 2009, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo publicly supported gay marriage in a Huffington Post op-ed, and has consistently spoken out in favor of same-sex marriage, including speaking out in favor of Maryland ballot initiatives granting same-sex marriage twice (links here and here).
In response, Democratic Maryland state legislator Emmett C. Burns, Jr. sent this letter to Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti on August 29, 2012, stating that he finds it “inconceivable that one of your players, Mr. Brendon Ayanbadejo, would publicly endorse Same-Sex marriage, specifically, as a Raven football player.” The succinct letter goes on to state that such a view “has no place in a sport that is strictly for pride, entertainment and excitement.” Key is the final paragraph, visible past the jump:
I am requesting that you take the necessary action, as a National Football Franchise Owner, to inhibit such expressions from your employee and that he be ordered to cease and desist such injurious actions. I know of no other NFL player who has done what Mr. Ayambadejo is doing.
While this is shocking, it’s hardly inconsistent with Burns’s previous political record, which includes introducing a Maryland bill to invalidate same-sex marriages validly entered into in another state or in a foreign country (defeated in February 2010) and voting against Maryland’s Civil Marriage Protection Act to allow same-sex couples to receive a marriage license. (Check out this brief clip for a good idea of his stance on the issue).
Yesterday, September 7, Chris Kluwe, punter for the Minnesota Vikings, released a letter to Burns on the sports website Deadspin entitled “They Won’t Magically Turn You Into A Lustful Cockmonster”: Chris Kluwe Explains Gay Marriage To The Politician Who Is Offended By An NFL Player Supporting It. It’s only 6 paragraphs long and one of the funniest things I’ve read in a while. (Though the Onion may have some issues with the line “They won’t come into your house and steal your children.”)
How have others responded to Burns’s letter?
Ayanbadejo stated yesterday, “I’d have to thank him more than anything for bringing national attention to the issue,” and that, “For somebody to try to take that [his free speech rights] away from me I was pretty surprised, from a politician especially.
As for the Ravens? Instead of condemning his statements, the Ravens have told Ayanbadejo that they support his voicing of his opinion and are writing a response to Burns supporting Ayanbadejo’s right to free speech under the First Amendment. [LINK]
My opinion on this response is summed up pretty well by Chris’s twitter response to the comments on his article:
In other news, if you’re a registered voter in Maryland’s (especially in District 10 in Baltimore County), you should check out absentee ballot information here.