The NFL’s Matt Birk, a native Minnesotan who plays for the Baltimore Ravens, doesn’t want to be called a bigot for opposing gay marriage. He probably shouldn’t have used bigoted arguments in his opinion piece for the Star Tribune then, should he?
In the piece, Birk assures us that not everyone in the NFL supports the “redefinition” of marriage, before giving his reasons for speaking out:
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.
It’s sad that, as someone who felt it necessary to broadcast his opinions, Birk wasn’t compelled to provide evidence for these assertions — but then, it is difficult when no such evidence exists.
Onward the train chugs:
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?
Basic reality of marriage? Tell that to Massachusetts. Or, for that matter, New York.
Also, no we’re not past labeling people bigots because if it quacks then it probably is a duck. And Matt Birk is quacking away rather merrily. Case in point, this little canard:
Don’t we all have family members and friends whom we love who have same-sex attraction?
Would that be “same-sex attraction” that is meant to make homosexuality sound like a pathology even though all mainstream medical authorities say homosexuality is a healthy and normal expression of human sexuality? Yes, the same misnomer that ex-gay groups use as a way to suggest you can leave your “same-sex attractions” behind and religious conservatives trot out to mark gay and lesbian people, including kids, as being sinful and against their god?
Birk’s call for civility is made even more vacuous when he cries:
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.
Far from wanting to silence people like Matt Birk, we want them to keep talking because it shows their baseless arguments for what they are, but let us also highlight that a conversation isn’t respectful when one party throws around unsupported lies about the other. That’s the opposite of respectful, in fact.
Birk then turns to a “defense of marriage” grandeur that is as tiresome as it is legless:
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.
There is a dissonance between respectful discourse and using the lie that same-sex marriage will harm heterosexual marriage. Gay marriage has happened in several states. Not once has there ever been evidenced any harm to heterosexuality or children.
Birk finishes by saying:
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 promarriage culture in this upcoming election.
Actually, what Birk hopes is that Minnesotans will vote in favor of a constitutional amendment at the ballot this November to make ironclad the state’s anti-same-sex marriage law based on his unsupported notions that same-sex marriage will ruin the “healthy, authentic” heterosexuals-only marriage club.
There is, however, nothing reasonable or charitable about lying to oppose same-sex couples accessing marriage equality when this denial of rights has real and cognizable harms.
Due to DOMA, for instance, same-sex couples are denied over 1,400 federal rights and responsibilities, which studies have shown disadvantages them as parents and impacts their mental health. Still, they raise kids just as well as straight couples.
And let’s make one thing clear: we must respect a person’s right to hold whatever opinion they like, no matter how wrongheaded, irrational or downright awful.
We do not, however, nor should we ever, have to respect bigotry, lies or historic privilege. Once the word is spoken, the act dealt, it is viable and open to criticism.
Also, on attempting to worm out of being labelled a bigot because you find it disrespectful — well, too bad.
If you don’t want to be labelled a bigot, stop doing and saying bigoted things.