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Baltimore Ravens’ Matt Birk: ‘Not all NFL players think redefining marriage is a good thing’

Monday, October 1, 2012

Matt Birk, the Baltimore Ravens center (and former Minnesota Viking), is the latest NFL player to enter the debate on marriage equality, and has penned an op-ed in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune opposing same-sex marriage.

Birk’s column follows the recent debate on the issue in which Ravens’ linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo came under fire from Maryland lawmaker Emmett Burn, who demanded the Ravens silence Ayanbadejo’s public support for same-sex marriage.

Matt Birk

Enter Minnesota Vikings’ punter Chris Kluwe, also a marriage equality supporter, who blasted Burns in a profanity-laced letter published last month at Deadspin.

Now comes Birk, a “traditional marriage” supporter who differs from Ayanbadejo and Kluwe, and who writes that “same-sex unions may not affect my marriage specifically, but it will affect my children.”

I think it is important to set the record straight about what the marriage debate is and is not about, and to clarify that not all NFL players think redefining marriage is a good thing.

The union of a man and a woman is privileged and recognized by society as “marriage” for a reason, and it’s not because the government has a vested interest in celebrating the love between two people. With good reason, government recognizes marriages and gives them certain legal benefits so they can provide a stable, nurturing environment for the next generation of citizens: our kids.

[...]

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.

The marriage debate has, at time, polarized voters in both Minnesota and Maryland — both states will consider ballot initiatives in November relating to same-sex marriage.

The Minnesota measure asks voters to approve a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage; the Maryland initiative asks voters to approve or reject the state’s recently passed marriage equality law.

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54 more reader comments:

  1. Well shit, that’s without a doubt.

    Still, I think two men or two women should be allowed to get married.

    Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 6:22pm
  2. yeah, that’s unfortunate

    Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 6:22pm
  3. As much of a Ravens fan I am, Matt Birk /is/ a douchebag anyway.

    Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 6:22pm
  4. Well then Matt you are against equal rights!! What if your children are gay? Do you want THEM to not have the opportunity to marry the person they love?

    Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 6:23pm
  5. Oh, for cryin’ out loud, he’s the CENTER! How many thousands of times has he hit his head in his career? His teammate Brendon needs to sit him down and explain, in baby terms, how marriage is NOT being “redefined.” It’s just allowing EVERYBODY to get married, not merely some people. That’s all it is!

    Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 6:26pm
  6. Men and women of same sex should be able to marry if they like. This doesn’t effect your children. We need to educate, acceptance and tolerance

    Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 6:26pm
  7. Wait, he’s a “Center” isn’t that the man that’s bent over head down, face in dirt, holding a BALL for ANOTHER man to grab said ball between his legs…. UMMMM OK. I don’t need azz open center giving me his opinion about anything! LOL opinions are like Azzholes everybody has one, play football mofos and stfu. ;) thanx.

    Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 6:27pm
  8. That’s because players like him are douchebags

    Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 6:27pm
  9. I think he is forgetting the very real possibility that one or all of his kids could be gay. If he does not believe it to be possible. He really needs to talk to my mom.

    Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 6:27pm
  10. This is exactly what a privileged White supremacist male would say – pathetic

    Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 6:27pm
  11. And exposing your children to the violence that is the NFL is Christian? ;

    Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 6:28pm
  12. I’m scared to support sports anymore for this reason

    Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 6:29pm
  13. May they be in the minority.

    Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 6:30pm
  14. Matt Birk should just be thankful he still has a job in the NFL, as his career is surely almost over, so speaking on behalf of any number of players inside the NFL is completely asinine of him!! It’s about evolving, Mr. Birk… which, I don’t know if you realize it, or not, but only people like yourself with this anti-gay marriage sentiment, raise YOUR children, who you fear will be affected by gay marriage, to feel the same way about it that you do! Another newsflash for ya buddy, but I was raised in a Christian home by a mother and father who stayed together through thick and thin, who may not have agreed with homosexuality or pretended to understand it, but they never advocated against it either, and guess what?? I’m gay, straight from the womb of a woman with all heterosexual genes, harvested inside an egg that was fertilized by a man with all heterosexual genes, Yep, that’s me!!!

    Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 6:30pm
  15. He literally looks Neanderthal.

    Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 6:30pm
  16. God I hate biggots

    Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 6:31pm
  17. In the meantime, “not all Christians think redefining marriage is a bad thing.”

    Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 6:31pm
  18. As expected, nothing of substance or worth engaging with

    Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 6:35pm
  19. Rear end

    Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 6:38pm
  20. And the bigot of the night goes to…. sorry Matt Birk, the Pope beat you tonight, maybe next time.

    Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 6:40pm
  21. Yay!

    Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 6:41pm
  22. Oops…I misread the headlines!

    Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 6:42pm
  23. what he forgot to add was; “Ideas have consequences, and laws shape culture. Marriage redefinition will affect the broader well-being of children and the welfare of society”–for the better!

    Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 6:44pm
  24. dumb ass

    Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 6:45pm
  25. blah blah blah, no blood flowing to his brain….

    Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 6:48pm
  26. Not all NFL players look like they were just birthed by a neanderthal either.

    Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 6:52pm
  27. Ravens suck

    Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 6:54pm
  28. Ok so I think we should compromise, if they allow us to marry ….we will take all the blame for the high divorce rate in the U.S. Its a win win… They are going to blame us for it at some point when it gets legalized anyways…

    Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 6:57pm
  29. He’s entitled to teach his children what he thinks is right and wrong. He is not entitled to make that choice for me and my family.

    Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 7:06pm
  30. The true underlying fear at play here is that once marriage equality is enshrined, absolutely nothing bad will happen. From what I read, it seems the US military is doing fine post-DADT.

    Back in the nineties, here in Ontario, Canada, the provincial government extended adoption rights to same-sex partners, paving the way for lesbian and gay couples to jointly parent under the law. Along with that came a requirement that all employers allow all employees to share insurance benefits with their common-law spouses — until that time, only opposite sex common-law spouses were entitled to share benefits in the private sector. (Most municipal, provincial gov’t and federal government employees already had this right.) At the federal level, gays and lesbians had already been serving openly in the military since 1992. In 2005 that last federal impediments to same-sex marriage were removed. Cats are not marrying dogs. Rivers of fire are not running down the streets. I don’t see any locusts outside my window at the moment.

    But the doomsdayers do love to talk about how the family is going to Hell in a hand-basket, don’t they?

    Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 7:11pm
  31. and its ok. freedom of speech/think is for everyone. if its good for suoerficials gays its good for Nfl pkayers pink glasses arent for everyone.

    Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 7:12pm
  32. Ok, so I have a suggestion. Why not make marriage only available to TRUE CHRISTIANS? And to be eligible to be labeled as TRUE CHRISTIANS a couple must take and pass a series of tests, including lie detector tests, over a 5 year period. During that time, they are not allowed to have pre-marital relations (sex) or live together and those questions will be asked on the lie detector tests. Once all the tests are taken, and each person in the relationship passes all tests with complete accuracy-that means getting all the answers correct, they will be cleared to request permission to marry! However, it will be at the discretion of the evaluator to determine what the correct answers are for each test and whether to grant or deny their request for permission to marry. THEN, the couple must be presented to a panel made up of their peers for the final “VOTE”. If their peers grant them permission, they may start making their wedding plans. If their peers deny them, they must wait two years before starting the process again, from the beginning. But this is not intended to deny any person their inalienable rights, this is to protect our children!

    Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 7:21pm
  33. Yes, giving equal, civil rights to every American citizen will affect his children, in the most positive way. They will learn respect for other’s rights, even if the ‘others’ are not the same as they are.

    Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 7:24pm
  34. Hey Birk, first off marriage is a social union created by governments centuries ago. The church felt that marriage was an abomination until the 16th century when they finally agreed to allow marriage by the church. So you tell me how your religion has the right to tell my kind we don’t deserve to get married.

    Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 7:30pm
  35. Same old catshyt, different litter box.

    Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 7:34pm
  36. ah great another homphobic christofuck…

    Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 7:34pm
  37. Who said they have to play?

    Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 7:49pm
  38. Matt: who asked you…and this will “affect your children” HOW?

    Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 8:01pm
  39. pig! so in this line of thinking same sex couples probably shouldn’t be allowed children either…douche bag!

    Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 8:08pm
  40. Bigot

    Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 8:25pm
  41. Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 8:26pm
  42. “Redefining marraige;” I think this point has been beat into the ground (polygamy, selling of dauhters, etc.). That he even brings up this point shows that he is out of touch with the reality of his own religion. As for his religious “opinion,” this is the reason behind separation of religion and state. Gay marraige is not against my religion: so I’d like to choose the religion that the “state” recognizes. Perhaps he should move to Iraq or Iran, where “religion” dictates the government and laws. Neanderthal that he is: grow up.

    Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 9:05pm
  43. A bigot is still a bigot, no matter how softly and politely they speak.

    Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 10:01pm
  44. Fuk him.

    Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 10:06pm
  45. Yes, because marriage has always been about one man and woman to have children and express love. NOT! Marriage began as a contract between families, to not make war on the other. The woman was a gift, like a horse. Only nobles could marry, because everyone else was expected to be working the fields for their king, not seeking a satisfying life with a spouse. Men could have as many wives/women they wanted while women married or not at the whim of their fathers. Marriage is once again in flux people. Live with it.

    Posted on Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 12:36am
  46. He’s an unevolved neanderthal, what’d you expect?

    Posted on Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 1:43am
  47. The man has a right to his opinion. He may evolve, in time. We must accept him and his opinion if we wish to be accepted

    Posted on Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 2:35am
  48. we need a new center :(

    Posted on Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 4:57am
  49. Not all homosexual persons think football players are a good thing.

    Posted on Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 5:54am
  50. assholes in every group…poor thing

    Posted on Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 7:03am
  51. Everyone is entitled to their freedom of speech. I don’t agree with him but if i take away his right to free speech then what platform do i stand on when some one wants to take away my freedom of speech? There are some people who are never going to see my side of this arguement, so I will (try) to maintain my dignity and not argue with the fools. How they phrase their side of the discussion is up to them.

    Posted on Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 7:52am
  52. Just keep doing your day job, there’s a good boy.!

    Posted on Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 9:08am
  53. Bigot.

    Posted on Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 9:42am
  54. Reacting to someone else’s opinion isn’t taking away their freedom of speech. He’s free to say what he wants, and I’m free to call him a moron.

    Posted on Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 1:27pm