Vikings punter Chris Kluwe and Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo have combined their collective forces once again in support of gay marriage, and this time they’re moving way up the political ladder.
Back in September of 2011, Maryland state delegate Emmett C. Burns penned a letter to Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, basically asking him to quiet his players — namely Ayanbadejo, who had publicly spoken out — on the issue of gay marriage. At the time a ballot initiative in the state, which eventually passed, would have legalized gay marriage, and Burns was clearly against it.
Yahoo! Sports eventually published a copy of the letter, and Kluwe penned a now-infamous letter to Burns, using some very colorful language to shame the politician. But now Kluwe and Ayanbadejo are teaming up again — and this time taking their activism to the Supreme Court.
In the November 2008 election, one of the more nationally controversial state initiatives was Proposition 8, which passed and banned gay marriage in the state of California. A court case known as Hollingsworth v. Perry overturned the state constitutional amendment, and that case has now again been appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States to decide the fate of gay marriage in California in a ruling that will undoubtedly have repercussions across the country.
Earlier this month, Kluwe and Ayanbadejo filed a brief with the Supreme Court, arguing in support of gay marriage. Among their arguments is that the important ruling will cue the actions of athletes, which, as role models, will likewise cue the actions of young people across the country. The brief reads in part:
“Sports figures receive a celebrity status that influences a large majority of the American population. For far too long, professional sports have been a bastion of bigotry, intolerance, and small-minded prejudice toward sexual orientation, just as they had been to racial differences decades earlier. That is finally changing, and changing drastically. The NFL, NHL, MLB, and NBA, at the league level,team level, and individual level, are finally speaking out against homophobia and intolerance of LBGTQ individuals. More and more of us realize that using demeaning slur words like ‘faggot,’ ‘queer,’ and ‘gay’ can have serious, negative consequences.
“Not necessarily consequences for us. Instead,consequences for the children and adults who look up to us as role models and leaders. Consequences for children and adults who mimic our behavior when they interact with others. And consequences that can be severe, long-lasting, and not infrequently lead to suicide and other serious harm.”
Deadspin has a copy of the entire brief posted online here. Oral arguments in the hearing are scheduled to begin on March 26.