Same-sex marriage, as much as any other subject in today’s society, is a difficult thing to talk about.
Public figures, let alone professional athletes, rarely approach the subject because it is a “no-win” situation where someone will be offended no matter what you say.
This is why Matt Birk’s willingness to engage publicly on the subject of same-sex marriage issue should be applauded. Matt Birk – a practicing Catholic, an NFL all-pro center for the Baltimore Ravens, and the 2012 NFL Man of the Year – recently added his voice to the marriage debate by defending the traditional definition of marriage between a man and a women.
In a recent op-ed article printed in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Birk wrote, “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.”
Birk’s defense of a traditional view of marriage comes after a few weeks of heated debate involving two NFL players, Brendon Ayanbadejo of the Baltimore Ravens and Chris Kluwe of the Minnesota Vikings. A few weeks ago, it was reported that Maryland state delegate Emmett C. Burns Jr. wrote a letter to Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti requesting that Brendon Ayanbadejo and his teammates to not speak out in support of same-sex marriage. This prompted Vikings punter Chris Kluwe to write a profane letter to the Burns defending both free speech and same-sex marriage.
Unfortunately this course of events is just one more example of how debate over same-sex marriage can quickly lose civility, and why we need more public figures like Matt Birk who are willing to defend what they believe with courtesy and respect. As Birk notes in his letter, “I hope that in voicing my beliefs I encourage people on both sides to use reason and charity as they enter this debate.”
Debate will no doubt continue as Minnesota prepares for a November 6th vote that seeks to amend their constitution regarding the definition of marriage.
Below is a video of Birk, a Minnesota native, re-iterating his views for a recent Minnesota Catholic Conference.