News Human Rights

While Minnesota Punter Rallies For Marriage Rights, Local Paper Stays Oddly Silent

Robin Marty

Minnesota could be the first state to defeat a ballot amendment declaring marriage can only be between a man and a woman.  And a punter shall lead them.

When it comes to football, punters are usually the silent player on the field. They come in, kick a ball, and leave again, seldom drawing much attention unless the kick goes out of bounds. 

But Minnesota punter Chris Kluwe made quite an impact last week, when he sent an email to Maryland Democrat Emmett C. Burns Jr., criticizing Burns’s remarks that Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo shouldn’t be allowed to speak out in favor of gay marriage and the Raven’s organization should stop Ayanbadejo from making more political statements along that line.

I can assure you that gay people getting married will have zero effect on your life. They won’t come into your house and steal your children. They won’t magically turn you into a lustful cockmonster. They 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. Do the civil-rights struggles of the past 200 years mean absolutely nothing to you?

The entire letter is a delightful read, both the obscentity-laden original and the PG-13 rewrite (now with 100 percent fewer cockmonsters!).

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Yet as much as Kluwe’s colorful and passionate advocacy has drawn national attention, one outlet has remained conspicuously silent about his remarks–his team’s state’s largest newspaper. With Minnesotans preparing to vote on a ballot amendment that would forbid same sex couples from legal marriage, as well as a chance to write about the state’s largest and most popular sports team on the weekend of the NFL season opener, the news blackout seems peculiar to say the least.

The Vikings, meanwhile, won their first game yesterday, a good start for a team who had only three wins last season. Kluwe held the ball on the game winning punt during overtime. His praise of the team’s rookie kicker made the news. His views on gay marriage did not.

News Sexuality

ELECTION 2012: Minnesota Becomes First State to Reject “Traditional Marriage” Amendment

Robin Marty

The progressive-leaning state refuses to enshrine bigotry in the state constitution.

In Minnesota, by law, the right to marry is accorded only to heterosexual couples.  But for state Republicans who were also hoping to increase voter turnout in a presidential election year, a campaign to change the constitution to legally define marriage as only between a man and a woman has failed, both in turning out conservative voters or in making bigotry permanent in the state.

Minnesotans for Marriage, a front group of “traditional marriage” supporters mainly backed by the state’s Catholic churches, threw their full weight behind the effort (including church sponsored DVDs and illegal campaigning at some election sites). But they began to lose their momentum after one of the key architects of the amendment lost his job after he was found having an affair with the female Republican Speaker of the Senate, and then admitted the whole amendment effort was ploy for increased voter turnout. The issue became even more heated when Vikings punter Chris Kluwe threw his full support (and blog column power) into campaigning against the amendment.

Minnesota voters successfully rejected the amendment in a long, long night at the polls. The Yes vote lead for much of the night, as issues in Minneapolis polling districts left their votes not tabulated until after 1 a.m. But soon after results flooded in, and with over 99 percent of the vote counted the amendment failed to receive a majority vote.

That both a constitutional amendment defining marriage and a constitutional amendment requiring voter ID to cast a ballot is little shock after the state’s full results were known. Minnesota’s Republican party also lost control of the House and the Senate, both of which were won in the 2010 wave GOP election. Now, the state is returning to its solid blue roots.

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