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.
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.