Baltimore Ravens center Matt Birk had his same-sex marriage editorial published on Saturday in The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Minnesota's largest paper:
People who are simply acknowledging the basic reality of marriage between one man and one woman are being labeled as "bigots" and "homophobic." [I]deas 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.
The NFL named Birk the Walter Peyton Man of the Year for the 2011 season, awarded each year to a player who exemplifies excellence on the field and through community service.
Birks teammate, Oladele Ayanbadejo, and his former teammate on the Minnesota Vikings, Chris Kluwe, had voiced their opinion on same-sex marriage earlier in 2012. Ayanbedjo had spoken out in favor of marriage equality in Maryland, a state that is set to vote on the policy in November. Kluwe, whose brother-in-law is reportedly gay, said it's "discouraging" to see that state officials would tell football players to remain silent on the issue:
"People should be free to support causes like gay marriage and equality and it's really just kind of discouraging to see a state representative come forward and say 'No you should be silent because you're a football player.' That's not the message that I think the government should be sending."