A letter last week from Baltimore Ravens player Chris Kluwe that went viral, in which he chews out a lawmaker not only for his anti-gay stance but for attempting to silence a Ravens teammate of Kluwe’s on openly supporting gay rights, has prompted an acknowledgment from the delegate that both Kluwe and his teammate are protected by the First Amendment in speaking their minds on the issue of gay rights.
The letter was penned by Kluwe in response to Delegate Emmett C. Burns’ letter to Baltimore Ravens management after linebacker Brendon Ayandabejo spoke out about his beliefs on gay marriage via venues like Twitter. In the letter to the Ravens, Burns fumed:
“I find it inconceivable that one of your players, Mr. Brendon Ayanbadejo would publicly endorse same-sex marriage … Many of my constituents and your football supporters are appalled and aghast that a member of the Ravens Football Team would step into this controversial divide and try to sway public opinion one way or the other … I am requesting that you take the necessary action, as a National Football League Owner, to inhibit such expressions from your employees and that he be ordered to cease and desist such injurious actions. I know of no other NFL player who has done what Mr. Ayanbadejo is doing.”
Much of Kluwe’s reply, albeit elegant and well-written, was too risque to quote — although the phrase “lustful c***monster” has in particular tickled fans who are gay rights sympathizers. In part, Kluwe said:
“[Gay people] won’t even overthrow the government in an orgy of hedonistic debauchery because all of a sudden they have the same legal rights as the other 90 percent of our population — rights like Social Security benefits, child care tax credits, Family and Medical Leave to take care of loved ones, and COBRA healthcare for spouses and children … You know what having these rights will make gays? Full-fledged American citizens just like everyone else, with the freedom to pursue happiness and all that entails.”
And it seems that Kluwe’s letter and the public reaction to it sufficiently chastened Burns, who was subsequently forced to apologize for trying to silence Ayandabejo on the matter.
By way of apology, Burns admitted:
“Upon reflection, he has his First Amendment rights … And I have my First Amendment rights. … Each of us has the right to speak our opinions. The football player and I have a right to speak our minds.”
Were you impressed to see Kluwe stand up so strongly for the gay community in response to Burns’ letter?