Recently NFL players have been stepping up voicing their opinions on matters outside of football. Something of course I am a huge fan. Especially if these players are using their fame advantageously enlightening society with something thought provoking
Today Ravens centre Matt Birk decided to speak out against Gay Marriage raising some valid points that I never even really considered before what was said in Minneapolis Star Tribune today:
..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.
I am speaking out on this issue because it is far too important to remain silent. People who are simply acknowledging the basic reality of marriage between one man and one woman are being labeled as “bigots” and “homophobic.” Aren’t we past that as a society?
Don’t we all have family members and friends whom we love who have same-sex attraction? Attempting to silence those who may disagree with you is always un-American, but especially when it is through name-calling, it has no place in respectful conversation.
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.
I hope that in voicing my beliefs I encourage people on both sides to use reason and charity as they enter this debate. I encourage all Americans to stand up to preserve and promote a healthy, authentic pro-marriage culture in this upcoming election
Better yet was the response by the usually outspoken Vikings punter Chris Kluwe who absolutely shredded him apart. Making everything I thought about Birk’s comments having validity completely washed away….
I give you warning that the response is quiet long but well worth your read coming out of the blogs.twincities.com/outofbounds section
Full disclosure: I know Matt Birk, having played with him for multiple years in the NFL. I think he’s a smart, funny person who has done both good things in the community here in Minnesota as well as with the concussion issue facing disabled players. I respect Matt, and I respect his right to his own views and ideas.
However, in this instance, Matt I think you’re wrong. This is not an attack on you as a person or your beliefs, but the argument you presented in the Star Tribune simply does not stand up to logical inspection.
Problem the first – Your argument lacks facts, sources, or statistics. You can’t just say “Same -sex marriage is bad for kids because I think it’s bad for kids, and I think it’s bad for kids because it’s bad for kids”. That’s called circular reasoning and it’s a logical fallacy. If you want us to understand why same-sex marriage is bad for kids, you need to provide some sort of substantial evidence. Tell us that children from same-sex couples are more likely to grow up broke and miserable and alone and will end their days starving in a gutter. Just don’t use a study like this one, which displays clear source and confirmation bias (as outlined neatly in this article from Slate). Use something like this(sadly behind a paywall, but the abstract should give you the high notes). I’ll sum it up for those who don’t want to click on links: there’s no difference between children raised in heterosexual relationships and same-sex relationships, as evidenced by a meta-study of nineteen different LBGT studies.
Problem the second – Your argument that “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” is flawed on two counts. The first flaw is one of simple mathematics – if “marriage” is so necessary to the proper raising of children, why are we not passing an amendment to outlaw divorce? Current statistics from the CDC put the national divorce rate at approximately 50% (of roughly 2.1 million marriages a year, 1 million will end in divorce). They also put the number of same-sex couple households at 685,000, and those with children at 160,000. Let’s say, purely for the sake of example, that every single one of those same-sex households got married. You’re telling me you’re more concerned with the impact of those 160,000 households, as opposed to the 1 million heterosexual couples getting divorces? If this is truly about the children, shouldn’t divorce be first up on the constitutional amendment list, in order to save more children?
The second flaw is that you’re actually arguing in favor of same-sex marriage. If children having a stable home is the main crux of your concern, then denying gay couples the benefits of 1100 federal laws can only harm the children they will raise. Not allowing those children the same health benefits, family care benefits, survivor benefits; that can only be a detriment to the upbringing and care of a child, correct? Or do you propose that same-sex couples should be unfit for adoption, should be unfit to raise children?
Problem the third – You’re conflating “‘if it feels good, go ahead and do it’” with couples that want the stability and benefits of marriage and just so happen to be gay. There’s plenty more heterosexual couples that marry because “it feels good, go ahead and do it” with no intention of ever having children than there are same-sex couples (again, simple mathematics). Should we deny marriage to anyone who doesn’t plan to have kids? What about the infertile couples? The old people? You yourself say “Marriage is in trouble right now — admittedly, for many reasons that have little to do with same-sex unions.” So why the discrimination? Why should we be passing a constitutional amendment denying legal rights to American citizens who pay taxes and serve in our armed forces? If “marriage” is so important, why aren’t we going after all those “many other reasons” first?
Problem the fourth – Marriage has already been redefined multiple times over the years. Marriage used to be one man and multiple women. Marriage used to be a way to exchange property between two families. Marriage used to be between brother and sister to keep the royal bloodline pure. Marriage used to be between children. Marriage used to be only for people that were the same skin color. Marriage used to be a lot of things, many of them oppressive towards women and minorities. I think I’d rather marriage be between two people that love each other and are committed to each other no matter what combination of fleshy bits are hanging off their bodies; not a reality TV show.
Problem the fifth – You’re trying to raise a religious argument in a secular matter. The First Amendment isn’t just about the freedom FOR religion, it’s also about the freedom FROM religion. The word “marriage” appears in thousands of legal documents and laws in this nation, and to attempt to narrowly define it through a religious application means you’re trying to assert a religious viewpoint on those who may not necessarily hold the same views. Our founding fathers knew quite clearly the dangers that state sponsored religious persecution could inflict (they lived through it!), and the First Amendment is worded in favor of state neutrality for a reason. I will support your right to worship at whatever altar you choose, but I will not support you trying to force it on someone else, or to deny someone else legal benefits due to religious reasoning.
Problem the last – The only impact same-sex marriage will have on your children is if one of them turns out to be gay and cannot get married. What will you do (and I ask this honestly) if one or more of your kids ends up being gay? Will you love them any less? What will your actions speak to them, 15 years from now, when they ask you why they can’t enjoy the same relationship that you and your wife have now? And if your response is “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it”, well, for a lot of people that bridge is here right now. They’re trying to cross it, but the way is barred, and I will do my best to tear those barricades down any way I can because I believe that we are infringing on the free will of other human beings by denying them their basic right to live free of oppression. I love my daughters for their minds and their personalities, not for who they love as adults. That’s none of my damn business, and I will support them in life no matter who they want to marry.
Ultimately, while your letter is respectful and polite (and I’ve tried to keep mine the same way, no SPARKLEPONIES in this one), I remain unconvinced by any logical reasoning you have so far brought to bear on the subject. I encourage you to keep speaking out, as we should never be afraid to espouse our views, but from a rational standpoint I simply cannot agree with discrimination against a subset of our citizenry.
(Miss you at the crossword puzzles)
I am a fairly open minded person; especially when it comes to an societal issue such as same sex marriage. I did see where Birk was coming from so I tried to respect that. But, everything Kluwe said makes way more sense. It only solidifies my original stance on gay marriage is if it doesn’t negatively affect the rest of society and it makes that couple happier I’m all for it. Life is all about happiness without negatively affecting others. Something that Kluwe very cleary points out is what happens in most same sex marriages across the United States.