Vikings’ Kluwe Argues Same Sex Marriage Is A Civil Rights Issue

Vikings’ punter Chris Kluwe took on an empty chair to argue against Minnesota’s proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. None of the invited Republican supporters showed up to argue for the amendment. Instead, actors at Minneapolis’ Brave New Workshop read quotes from Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, State Representative Mary Franson and Archbishop John Nienstedt. Radio personality Tom Barnard, of KQRS-FM and the Tom Barnard Podcast moderated the debate.

“God forbid our children learn some liberal agenda in school because you can make that same argument about 50 years ago with segregation. God forbid our children learn that black children are the same as them,” rebutted Kluwe to a quote from Minnesota State Representative Mary Franson.

A Brave New Workshop actor read Franson’s quote.”My concerns are that our children, our schools could be taught some liberal agendas because of the marriage amendment. Because in the schools they might be taught that this is normal behavior.”

Other statements from Michele Bachmann, Archbishop John Nienstedt and Rick Santorum were read during the debate.

Chris Kluwe has been outspoken against the marriage amendment. He says his teammates and other NFLers have been supportive of his efforts.

“In the locker room I’ve had quite a few guys come up to me and say, ‘Hey we appreciate what you say thanks for standing up for Brendan.’ Or some guys have said while we may not support the same-sex marriage part, we do support the first amendment part. And other guys have said we support everything you did,” said Kluwe.

Kluwe says the NFL is not all machismo.

“I think were helping sort of change this image that the NFL is just this stereotypical macho, jock type thing. I mean, there’s a lot of very smart players in the NFL. I think it behooves all of us to shatter that stereotype,” he explained.

Video transcript:
Chris Kluwe:
In the locker room I’ve had quite a few guys come up to me and say, you know, hey we appreciate what you said and thanks for standing up for Brendon. Or some guys have said while we may not support the same sex marriage part of it, we do support the first amendment part. And other guys just said we support everything you did. You know, we think you did a great thing. So I’ve got nothing but positive words on… maybe like two or three angry messages on twitter but, considering it’s the internet I expected a lot more. So I think it’s a good sign.

“Mary Franson”:
My concerns are that our children and our schools could be taught some liberal agendas because of the marriage amendment. Because in the schools they might be taught that this is normal behavior.

Kluwe:
God forbid our children learn some liberal agenda in school because you can make that same argument about 50 years ago with segregation. God forbid our children learn that black children are the same as them. And it sounds pretty much the same. So I would rather my children learn that people are people, treat other people the way you would like to be treated, and be who you are. Thats… it’s really that simple. If your child happens to be gay, I would much rather your child grows up knowing that it’s OK to be gay rather than being bullied or being driven to thoughts of suicide. That’s not how children should be raised. So Mary, I simply do not agree with you. Thank you for not showing up.

Tom Barnard:
But It’s great to have you here tonight. Really, really is. No question about it. Don’t you agree?

Kluwe:
Thank you everyone.

Barnard:
Now a quote from Archbishop John Nienstedt.

“Nienstedt”:
The institution of marriage and family life are unraveling before our very eyes due to no-fault divorce, wide spread cohabitation and promiscuous sexual activity. Amendment opponents, he said, seek to eliminate the need for marriage altogether.

Barnard:
Mr. Kluwe.

Kluwe:
I would say that once again that is completely false. No one is trying to take away the institution of marriage altogether. What we are asking for is that gay couples can get married. And Archbishop Nienstedt, I don’t think you realize but in the United States there is something called the First Amendment and it guarantees the separation of church and state. What that means is that religions are free to be religions, but in turn people are free from religion in this state. If you don’t want to believe in a religion, no bills will be passed, no laws shall be made to force you to believe in that religion. So therefore if you’re becoming involved in secular matters. If you’re using religious influence in trying to push religious laws on secular law, that is a clear-cut violation of the First Amendment.

I think we’re, we’re helping sort of change the image that the NFL is just, you know, stereotypical macho jocks type thing. I mean there’s a lot of very smart players playing in the NFL. I think it behooves all of us, to you know, kind of shatter that stereotype.

TV AD:
Ever since the Dutch passed registered partnerships in 1997, followed by formal same sex marriage in 2000, their out of wedlock birthrate has been moving up at a striking clip. The country experienced a continuous nine year spike in out of wedlock birthrates since the passage of the registered partnerships and then a five-year continuous spike since formal gay marriage went into effect. There has been a ten fold increase in out of wedlock births there since 1980. All of these are indications of a breakdown of family structure in the Netherlands.

Kluwe:
And the fact that you’re, you’re trying to corollate that with a breakdown in family structures, the fact that same-sex marriage was passed, you think causes a breakdown in family structure. Well as anyone has studied logic knows, or statistics, correlation does not equal causation.

Gee, it boils down to, you know, people Rick, Michele, you know all the other proponents of this measure is that please just live our own lives. Stop trying to live other people’s lives for them. Don’t take away people’s free will.

Allison Herrera

Allison Herrera, originally from San Luis Obispo, Calif.,  studied media and Spanish at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., where she earned her bachelor s. Since moving to the Twin Cities, she has been a news producer for KFAI Fresh Air Community Radio, communications coordinator for Twin Cities Public Television's arts series MN Original, and producer for the Association of Minnesota Public and Educational Radios Stations for the series MN90: Minnesota History in 90 Seconds.

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