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LGBT Humanist News: 18 September 2012 (vol. 1, issue 6)

Hello everyone, welcome to our sixth edition. We explore the expansion of legal protection for gay families in Europe. We look at the long-term problems caused by “that’s so gay.” We also report on NFL players stepping up their game in defense of gay rights. This edition may inspire you to answer ‘yes’ Hank Williams Jr.’s perennial question, that you are indeed ready for some football (as long as Baltimore’s Brendan Ayanbadejo or Minnesota’s Chris Kluwe are playing). But first, the LGBT Council has some cool things in store for you. First, we have an LGBT Humanist Council forming in San Diego to complement our Baltimore satellite. Secondly, starting the first week of October, I will be calling each of our AHA chapters and other local Freethought and LGBT groups where we don’t currently have a presence in order to build a 50-state network of LGBT Humanist Council satellite groups. Third, in order to have extra direct outreach, I am implementing monthly conference calls starting in November. As for the Newsletter, I have some upcoming interviews that will soon be posted here that you are going to love!

As coordinator, one thing that I would love to see is your voice. Each week I scour the best gay news sites for the best gay news. For the last month and a half this has been largely a solo effort. Last week I highlighted our Baltimore chapter. Soon, as we experience more growth, I would like to highlight each of our new groups as they emerge. Outside of organizational matters, the LGBT Humanist Council is a community of us. If you are interested in writing a story, or submitting an essay for an upcoming bulletin, please contact us at lgbt@americanhumanist.org. I will also be soliciting for issue articulation. What I mean is I will be posting several questions each week, and I will post the best and more interesting responses.

But, this week is interesting. The fundamentalists have Tim “Tebowing” his way to imaginative-inspirational glory; a meme-phenomenon that Harvard-grad Jeremy Lin’s dignity found itself too robust to capitalize upon. We may have found our answer to Tebowing; I call it “Ayanbadejo’ing.” When one Ayanbadejo’s, they stand up for the rights of marginalized people, piss off a Baptist minister serving as a Maryland Assembly Delegate, who then calls for your boss to punish you; which of course results in a Minnesota Vikings punter responding by calling the Delegate “Mindfucking obscenely hypocritical.” Confused? Keep reading!

Yours in Humanism,

-Jason Frye

LGBT Humanist Council Coordinator

Marriage Equality Minute

Following the campaign promises of French President François Hollande; France may soon have equal-marriage. According to LGBTQ Nation,[1] French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault recently addressed the Socialist Party saying, “In October, we will send a bill to the National Assembly and the Senate to allow same-sex couples to marry... It would also allow them to form families and adopt children.” Though France was one of the first nations offering civil unions to same-sex couples, they have lagged behind in the list of European nations offering gender-neutral marriages.

LGBTQ Nation[2] also reported that Polish center-right party, Platforma Obywatelska [PO], is planning on entering legislation to allow for same-sex couple civil unions. This legislation, however, does not include tax law equalization or adoption. The Alliance for the Democratic Left (SLD), whose previous equal-union legislation had been rejected by the PO, is expected to support the new one submitted by their former opponents.

As for the home front, the struggle for marriage equality continues. April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse are challenging discriminatory Michigan law for the sake of protecting their children: Nolan, Ryanne and Jacob. According to LGBTQ Nation,[3] Rowse and DeBoer (two Michigan-certified foster parents) are challenging the state’s laws banning same-sex couples from marrying and adopting in order to protect their family under the eyes of the law. Michigan only allows for single persons or married couples to adopt children. As a couple, though DeBoer and Rowse have been raising their three special-needs children together, they are not legally allowed to mutually adopt. This mutual adoption is especially married as their three children are special-needs, two of which were abandoned by their natural families at birth, the other at four months old. Rowse and DeBoer are the first to challenge Michigan’s 2004 constitutional amendment.         

According to Gay Star News,[4] speaking to MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts, open-lesbian comedian Wanda Sykes joked about opposition to equal marriage. "It's not going to be mandatory," Sykes said. On the opposition, Sykes furthered, "It seems like gay people are crazy and we go around and canvass the whole neighborhood: 'Come to my big gay wedding, come on, it's mandatory...' If you don't agree with it, chances are you don't know anyone who is gay or are close to someone who is gay." Sykes added, "So that even increases your chances of never being invited to a same-sex wedding."

Finally, the U.S. Supreme Court will be conferencing on September 24th on granting writs of certiorari to three gay-family cases (LGBTQ Nation[5]). A widow is challenging the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) claiming that she received and unfair $363,000 in taxes from the death of her wife that she wouldn’t have otherwise incurred if it weren’t for DOMA (Edith Windsor v. U.S.). The court is also considering a petition from Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to overturn a Federal Appeals Court decision allowing Arizona state employees to keep same-sex partner benefits. The third case, of course, is the long awaited appearance of Prop 8 at the doorstep of the Marble Palace (Hollingsworth v. Perry). 

The New Normal of Modern Families: Gaymos and Andy in a Cosby World

Bryan and David from The New Normal decided to take the plunge that one quarter of cohabiting gay and lesbian couples have done before them (2010 Census). In Ryan Murphy’s new NBC sitcom, in seeking a surrogate, the couple experiences the challenges that many others already have. Modern Family’s Mitchell and Cam (ABC) have equally faced the same struggle in trying to expand their happy (and modern) family. Both couples represent a new breed in gays on TV.

The use of gay characters in popular culture has not always been flattering. Early on, gay and lesbian characters either served as predatory-sexual villains or targets of laughter at our expense. With Soap, Ellen, Will & Grace, and Queer As Folk; we slowly found gay characters less as outsiders, and more as human beings; albeit this has not precluded the use of stereotype to break the tension.

We also saw how The Cosby Show helped a larger white audience become more comfortable with African Americans. Cosby’s portrayal of two well-adjusted professionals raising beautiful children straight out of a J.C. Penny catalogue (with the assistance of a platoon of jazz musician grandparents), portrayed a certain über-normative, neo-Rockwellian stability that was quickly evaporating in actual America. Perhaps the saccharine sitcom-sanitization of today’s matter-of-fact gay families will help usher in a new day when sexuality is ultimately incidental; a day when we can overcome Foucault’s transition of the temporary aberration of the sodomite to the creation of the 19th century clinical ‘homosexual’ as a species.

The Advocate recently (5 September 2012) highlighted the challenges that lesbian and gay families face when pursuing surrogacy. In “Alternative Reproduction, what couples really face,”[6] Mary Wheeler investigated issues gay and lesbian couples experience while seeking to enlarge their families. Surrogacy can be quite the expensive affair. According to Wheeler, surrogate fees range from $20,000 to $40,000. There are also medical fees, attorney’s fees, the possibility of program fees, and other expenses. As The New Normal’s pilot cliff-hanged, other considerations are the viability of conception. Once you have found an appropriate surrogate, it does not necessarily mean that pregnancy will immediately occur. Also, not all IVF (in vitro fertilization) programs are gay-friendly.

The employment of stereotypes can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the clown aspect of characters exhibiting stereotypes can break the tension. This can humanize characters in situations that the general audience may be unfamiliar or uncomfortable with. Secondly, there are aspects of in-group culture whose exaggeration may be enjoyed or otherwise identified by the community from which the character is written. Third, and more negative, the use of stereotypes may generate fallacious arguments whose propagation may give an unintended weight to the original stereotype. Stereotypes can also be a decent tool for those wishing for sympathy in highlighting what is said about/against them; and those wishing to drum up antipathy, in heuristic exploitation.

The gay-antipathy proponents have offered one argument against extending official marriage recognition to same-sex couples. This has come from the perspective that heterosexuals are in a need for the protections of marriage that are supposedly unnecessary for gay and lesbian couples. This is said because gay couples must certainly take many more steps to deliberately have children, unlike their straight counterparts who incur the risk of unexpected pregnancy. The “oops” argument (as I call it), is predicated on some truly interesting premises indeed. This is in line with other interesting premises for unsound positions include the spontaneous generation of vermin out of oily rags and animal droppings.

It is indeed refreshing to see more relatable and realistic exhibitions of what real gay and lesbian folks are actually facing. This however, is far from perfect. There are still stereotypes trafficked as if in some kind of “Gaymos and Andy” minstrel show. According to Gay Star News,[7] to Desert Outlook Magazine, Broadway and Torchwood star, the openly-gay John Barrowman said that though he loved the gay characters on TV, and he was “100 percent behind” the increased diversity; he wishes that they would “not stereotype those gay men and women.” Barrowman further said that rather than strictly effeminate men and masculine lesbian characters, he would also like to see “butch guys, guys who are into sports.” Television programs today seem more than happy to oblige Barrowman, as Prime Time comes off like a homoesque-Noah’s Ark where gay men generally come two-by-two; nelly & butch (esque).

In Will & Grace, Modern Family, and now The New Normal, the two prominent gay characters in each series have been played by pairs of openly gay and (supportive) straight actors. The more effeminate yin of the masculine yang is not always played by the openly gay actor. The openly-straight Eric Stonestreet plays Modern Family’s Cam. Cam is seen as exhibiting more qualities that are (seen by our culture as) “feminine” than his (slightly less effeminate) partner Mitchell (the openly-gay Jesse Tyler Ferguson). In response to Kirk Cameron’s antipathetic statements on gays and lesbians, Ferguson said, “The only thing unnatural about me being gay is that I had a crush on Kirk Cameron until about 24 hours ago.”[8]

Throughout American cinematic history, the incongruity between an actor and the sexual orientation of their portrayed character has experienced its share (early on) of closeted performers concealing who they were (e.g., Rock Hudson), and straight actors being labeled as “brave” for their portrayal of gay characters (e.g., Tom Hanks, Philadelphia). Today, this is transitioning to a demonstration of incidental sexuality. In the 1990’s where Ellen and Will & Grace may have been seen as "ground-breaking," today gay and lesbian characters on television are seen as a vital component of the American tapestry rather than a stain upon it.

This transition has not been perfect. Even if Cam and Mitchell, and David and Bryan can, at times, exemplify certain less than exemplary stereotypes, it is nice to see the stereotypes being used to reflect realistic issues. Perhaps placing Gaymos and Andy into a Cosby world will ultimately serve to better relate the heterocentric world to our community and we can both overcome the obstacles that they have traditionally imposed upon our lives.

FRC, continuing to put the "hate" in "hate-group"

There is an annual LGBT festival that happens around Labor Day in the Big Easy; it is called “Southern Decadence.” This year nine preachers were arrested outside of the festival in suspicion of violating an “aggressive solicitation” ordinance. A bar-bouncer (Tropical Isle) reported that the preachers were making anti-gay slurs. New Orleans has an “aggressive solicitation” ordinance on the books prohibiting “any person or group of persons to loiter or congregate on Bourbon Street for the purpose of disseminating any social, political, or religious message between the hours of sunset and sunrise.” The Times-Picayune covered this story.[9] Of the nine arrested for allegedly violating the ordinance, one (Justin Craft, 32) allegedly punched an officer whom was attempting to confiscate Craft’s bullhorn.

With some exception, there is generally a disproportionate amount of more Christian protesting of gay events than there is of gay protesting toward Evangelical Christian events (we probably wouldn’t see much gay protesting of Bishop Gene Robinson’s meetings). There are Christian activists dedicated to obstructing and interfering with the lives of LGBT Americans. One of these is the minister and attorney Scott Lively. Lively, the perennial anti-gay Christian activist wrote an editorial for World Net Weekly[10] bragging about evangelic efforts to turn the tide against the LGBT-equality movement.

Calling it “staggering success” against “gay fascism,” Lively cites the recent pro-Chick-Fil-A events as a bell weather towards what he feels to be the waning influence of LGBT supportive social sentiment. Lively stood up for Chick-Fil-A President Dan Cathy’s “non-apologetic” anti-marriage-equality statements in which Cathy said, “I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.’” Lively said “the gay worm may finally be starting to turn.” He then referenced the recent shooting at Family Research Council (FRC) headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Lively called FRC shooter Floyd Corkins a “homosexual foot soldier, slaving feverishly for the homosexual cause” and that “by God’s providence only one man was wounded in the attack,” saying that Corkins failed in his mission, whereas FRC President Tony Perkins did not.  Lively wrote, “Perkins correctly pointed the finger of blame at the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), probably the most dangerous homosexualist (sic) organ in the nation because of its power to defame and marginalize any individuals or organizations that oppose the ‘gay agenda.’”

Lively recounted his recent stateside anti-gay activism in an attempt to demonstrate the supposed weight of influence the current gay-antipathy movement is having in response to the “gay fascists.”

Several weeks ago the Lord gave me a prompting that I now recognize as advance notice of the worm’s turn. He inspired me to go to Springfield, Mo. to raise a ruckus about the sexual orientation anti-discrimination ordinance the City Council was planning. I call these “gay fascism bills.” A sexual-orientation anti-discrimination bill is the seed that contains the tree of the entire homosexual agenda with all of its poisonous fruit.

Lively then effectively took credit for the Springfield City Council tabling discussion of the ordinance. Lively’s intolerance is an interesting study in intolerance projecting its name on their targets. Lively insists that the world is submitting to the evils of a series of gay-activists whose very existence merits fierce opposition. Lively said, “We need to expose every aspect of the homosexual lifestyle and agenda to public scrutiny and at the same time remind everyone that God’s plan for sex and marriage produces as much good and health as ‘sexual freedom’ produces harm and disease.”

As I wrote last week in the LGBT Humanist News, Mark Regnerus’s National Family Structure Survey would undoubtedly be used to mislead through bad science. Call me a prophet because Lively wasted no time manifesting my prediction. In his letter, Lively called for the necessity of using the Regnerus study for “exposing the dangers of ‘gay’ parenting is both another sign of the worm’s turn and a tool for every pro-family advocate to use.” Or, in other words, to quote “the song of the summer” (Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe): “I just said that, it might sound crazy, but Lively just used that, call me a prophet baby.”

Further invoking fear, Lively then said, “We need to bring back public discussion of AIDS as a “gay” disease, pederasty as major subculture of male homosexuality, mental health problems and domestic violence as major problems associated with lesbianism, the increasing recruitment of children into a homosexual identity through experimentation with “gay” sex, etc. – all the truths we stopped telling because the other side screamed so loudly about them.” This is all from The Pink Swastika author, Scott Lively, a man who claimed in his book that homosexuals were at the heart of the Third Reich’s Nazism. Lastly, though he mentioned the FRC’s “hate-group designation,” Lively’s “Abiding Truth Ministries is also listed as a “hate-group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

In a post on their website, SPLC President Richard Cohen defended the FRC “hate-group” designation.[11] Cohen responded to Tony Perkins’ claims that through the “hate group” designation, groups like SPLC had “given license” to such attacks (the FRC headquarters shooting). According to Cohen, the SPLC does not designate the FRC as a hate group for its equal-marriage opposition, but for “engage[ing] in baseless, incendiary name-calling and spread[ing] demonizing lies about the LGBT community.” Cohen further lambasted the FRC, saying:

The FRC portrays gay people as sick, evil, perverted, incestuous and a danger to the nation. It insists that gay people are ‘fundamentally incapable’ of providing good homes for children – a myth that has been rejected by all relevant scientific authorities. One of its key leaders has actually said that homosexual behavior should be criminalized.

Cohen further criticized Perkins’ linkage of pedophilia as a problem of homosexuality and Perkins’ assertions that the gay community attempts to “recruit” people. Cohen cites FBI statistics showing the LGBT community as the group targeted for the most violent hate-crimes. “Spreading demonizing lies is what is dangerous, not exposing them.” Cohen concluded by stating, “The FRC richly deserves the ‘hate group’ label.”

But of course, the story continues. Undaunted, the FRC continued to stand against what Lively had called “the gay worm.” Last week, Perkins came out in another round of brazen braggadocio claiming that a National Organization for Marriage campaign (of 500,000 signatories) cost $10.2 billion in profit loss for Starbucks. According to LGBTQ Nation,[12] in a radio message Perkins said that NOM’s boycott of Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz’s support of equal marriage had cost the coffee mega-corporation a loss in $13 per share in stocks over the last eight months.

The power of “god” and fuzzy math indeed.

International

This week’s international news has us going to Asia, Africa, and South America. A gay married couple is arrested in Kuwait, the Ugandan government shuts down a play and arrests a bar owner attempting to stage it, and Chilean officials say they will investigate a military officer’s official recommendation to avoid gay people, including them in with drug addicts and Jehovah's Witnesses.

According to Gay Star News,[13] A Kampala (Uganda) bar owner has been arrested for staging a play featuring a gay man coming out of the closet. Tilapila Bar’s David Cecil had previously shown The River and The Mountain, and according to local activists as Cecil is a Western ex-patriot, he was “less likely” to be harassed by police. The City and The Mountain is advertised (according to Gay Star News) as “A Ugandan comedy drama that tackles the intersection of religion, politics and sexuality.”

Originally scheduled for production at the National Theatre of Uganda, it was cancelled after objections by government regulators. According to The Guardian and The City and The Mountain’s playwright Beau Hopkins, “The local media seem to have agreed not to talk about it, which is disappointing. We’re also particularly disappointed that it won’t be staged at the National Theatre, as there it would have reached more Ugandans.” Hopkins said that the play was intended to spark debate. “The play is there to inspire discussion in the community and to get a reaction from people. We want it to open up a dialogue.”

Also in Gay Star News,[14] two men were arrested in a car in Kuwait for engaging “romantically” in a “homosexual act.” In the article this act was not described specifically as sex, and the Kuwaiti paper referenced was in Arabic. Local police reported that the couple was in possession of a four-year-old marriage contract from a European country.

Article 193 of Kuwait’s penal code punishes adults over the age of 21 with up to seven years imprisonment for homosexual acts. “On 24 April MP Dr. Adel Al-Damkhi, a member of the parliamentary committee on tackling ‘practices alien to Kuwaiti society’, proposed to set up a ‘rehab center’ to treat negative phenomena alien to Kuwaiti society.’”

Finally, in Pink News,[15] according to the Associated Press, Chilean Army Commander Cristian Chateau “signed off on orders to recruiting officers to be ‘especially concerned’ with recruiting soldiers who are ‘morally and intellectually prepared’ for military service.” The document cautioned the officers to avoid people with “physical, mental or socioeconomic problems, criminal behavior, drug use, homosexuals, conscientious objectors and Jehovah’s Witnesses.” Chilean Defense Minister Andrew Allemand has issued a statement saying that these orders are contrary to established Chilean governmental policy, and that an investigation has been requested.

Youth: ‘That’s So Gay’ is damaging, LGBT Youth Suicide is higher in conservative areas, and the numbers are often hard to come by

With the school year starting, we should think of the younger members of our community, both secular and LGBT. The tragedy of LGBT youth suicides has received a lot of media attention in the last couple of years. As secular humanists, we should do our part to stand up for the kids and to help nurture a normative expectation of equal inclusiveness for the kids. In 2010, the AHA did just that with our “Second Chance Prom.” The problem of homophobia in school is especially daunting considering that it is a captive environment for our children, and even incidental homophobia can have terrible consequences. This includes the use of the phrase “that’s so gay” in reference to the generally undesirable rather than explicitly about sexual orientation.

A study authored by Mark Hatzenbuehler through Columbia University (published in the May 2011 issue of the Journal Pediatrics[16]) found that suicide attempt rates in LGBT teens were significantly higher than that of their heterosexual counterparts. This was especially so in socially conservative areas. The American figures are startlingly similar to those of Israel and Great Britain. Yet, on the subject of LGBT demography, the Center for American Progress has noted that LGBT persons are not equally represented in government metrics.

According to Pink Star News,[17] the Hatzenbuehler study surveyed 32,000 Oregon high school students. Hatzenbuehler’s findings indicated that there are ”substantially” more youth suicide attempts for LGBT youth, and that these are more likely to occur in politically conservative areas than in liberal ones. Hatzenbuehler also found higher suicide risk rates in areas with schools lacking “gay-supportive school programs.” The study said that, “Lesbian, gay and bisexual youth were significantly more likely to attempt suicide in the previous 12 months, compared with heterosexuals (21.5% vs. 4.2%). Among lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth, the risk of attempting suicide was 20% greater in unsupportive environments compared to supportive environments.” The study also found that in the least liberal counties surveyed, 25% of the gay youth in the study had attempted suicide.

According to CBS,[18] another study, this one from the University of Michigan (co-authored by University of Michigan assistant professors of social work Michael Woodford and Michael Howell, lecturer Perry Silverschanz, and graduate student Lotus Yu), suggests that the use of “that’s so gay” on college campuses has long-lasting deleterious psychological effects on students regularly exposed to it. The study (published in the current issue of the Journal of American College Health) surveyed 114 18- to 25-year-old GLB students online, asking the participants about feelings of social acceptance, mental health, and sexual orientation disclosure willingness. The students were also asked if they had heard “that’s so gay” in the past twelve months.

The data suggest that students hearing the phrase frequently were “more likely to suffer negative health symptoms, such as headaches, poor appetite, or eating problems.” The study also said that "practically every respondent reported hearing ‘that’s so gay’ on campus at least once in the past 12 months. Nearly half of the students said they’ve heard the phrase more than 10 times within the year. Only 14 respondents—or 13 percent—hadn’t heard it at all.”

Pink Star News[19] also had an article saying that in Israel gay youth are 112 times more like to attempt suicide as their heterosexual counterparts. In the study of 1,134 teens, 20 percent of gay youth had reported that they had made suicide attempts. The study’s director, Dr. Chana Bar, attributes this to the stress of confronting their families. Stonewall’s (UK) School Report came out saying that as of 2012, 16 percent of gay and bisexual boys had attempted suicide with 57 percent having thought about it. Though these numbers lead to tragic conclusions, according to the Center for American Progress, just having the numbers is a step forward.

According to LGBTQ Nation,[20] a Center for American Progress (CFAP) report details that though public policy is influenced by government data, an absence of data on LGBT populations may have an increasing effect on the propagation of derisive LGBT stereotypes. About a recent Bureau of Labor report on unemployment, the CFAP reported, “Gay and transgender workers, however, will not be discussed in the coverage because the bureau does not collect any demographic data on sexual orientation or gender identity.” On adding LGBT demographic data to existing models, the CFAP said, “These data would also allow local, state, federal, and nonprofit agencies to develop job-training and placement programs that more effectively serve the needs of all Americans, including those who are gay and transgender.”

According to the CFAP report,[21] studying subpopulation trends are “especially useful for designing employment policies and programs because they include a number of demographic and other descriptive variables, which allow experts to understand labor trends for specific subpopulations and employment settings.” Different branches of the government offer different amounts of LGBT demographics.

The American Community Survey ($400 billion in federal and state funds allocation and distribution are guided by this [lunch programs to hospitals]), according to the CFAP report, does include LGT families, but LGBT people “are not fully represented.” The Survey of Income and Program Participation (Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, etc.), covers race, age, sex, ethnicity and gender, but not sexual or gender orientation. And finally, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) “has taken a huge step forward in including gay and transgender people in its data-collection efforts.” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius “is working to add both sexual orientation and gender-identity questions to its national public health surveys.”

This being said, we should concentrate on the problem of homophobia in our schools, and work together to make school houses welcoming and safe spots for all of our youth.

Ayanbadejo and Kluwe’s touchdown for equality

A year ago, a Baltimore Ravens football player made a video coming out in support of marriage equality. Brendan Ayanbadejo was not the only footballer standing up for the rights of gay and lesbian persons, but Ayanbadejo did however receive heightened criticism in an interesting manner from a unique source. According to The New Civil Rights Movement,[22] Emmet C. Burns, a 72-year-old Maryland General Assembly Delegate and Baptist minister wrote a letter to Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti about the matter.

The letter was not of a fan congratulating his favorite NFL team, but one of consternation toward the pro-marriage equality Raven. On Maryland Assembly letterhead, Mr. Burns demanded that Biscioti “take necessary actions” to prevent Ravens players from expressing “such injurious actions.” The Ravens told NBC’s Josh Alper that there was “zero chance” that they would follow through with Burns’ request. Ayanbadejo tweeted his response to the matter: “Football is just my job it’s not who I am. I am an American before anything. And just like every American I have the right to speak.”

Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe saw Burns’ letter as an attempt for a state official to infringe upon one of their constituent’s First Amendment protections. Kluwe followed Burns’ example by writing his own letter, this time addressed to Burns.

Dear Emmett C. Burns Jr.,

I find it inconceivable that you are an elected official of Maryland’s state government. Your vitriolic hatred and bigotry make me ashamed and disgusted to think that you are in any way responsible for shaping policy at any level. The views you espouse neglect to consider several fundamental key points, which I will outline in great detail (you may want to hire an intern to help you with the longer words):

1. As I suspect you have not read the Constitution, I would like to remind you that the very first, the VERY FIRST Amendment in this founding document deals with the freedom of speech, particularly the abridgment of said freedom. By using your position as an elected official (when referring to your constituents so as to implicitly threaten the Ravens organization) to state that the Ravens should “inhibit such expressions from your employees,” more specifically Brendon Ayanbadejo, not only are you clearly violating the First Amendment, you also come across as a narcissistic fromunda stain. What on earth would possess you to be so mind-boggingly stupid? It baffles me that a man such as yourself, a man who relies on that same First Amendment to pursue your own religious studies without fear of persecution from the state, could somehow justify stifling another person’s right to speech. To call that hypocritical would be to do a disservice to the word. Mindfucking obscenely hypocritical starts to approach it a little bit.

2. “Many of your fans are opposed to such a view and feel it has no place in a sport that is strictly for pride, entertainment, and excitement.” Holy fucking shitballs. Did you seriously just say that, as someone who’s “deeply involved in government task forces on the legacy of slavery in Maryland”? Have you not heard of Kenny Washington? Jackie Robinson? As recently as 1962 the NFL still had segregation, which was only done away with by brave athletes and coaches daring to speak their mind and do the right thing, and you’re going to say that political views have “no place in a sport”? I can’t even begin to fathom the cognitive dissonance that must be coursing through your rapidly addled mind right now; the mental gymnastics your brain has to tortuously contort itself through to make such a preposterous statement are surely worthy of an Olympic gold medal (the Russian judge gives you a 10 for “beautiful oppressionism”).

3. This is more a personal quibble of mine, but why do you hate freedom? Why do you hate the fact that other people want a chance to live their lives and be happy, even though they may believe in something different than you, or act different than you? How does gay marriage, in any way shape or form, affect your life? If gay marriage becomes legal, are you worried that all of a sudden you’ll start thinking about penis? “Oh shit. Gay marriage just passed. Gotta get me some of that hot dong action!” Will all of your friends suddenly turn gay and refuse to come to your Sunday Ticket grill-outs? (Unlikely, since gay people enjoy watching football too.)

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?

In closing, I would like to say that I hope this letter, in some small way, causes you to reflect upon the magnitude of the colossal foot in mouth clusterfuck you so brazenly unleashed on a man whose only crime was speaking out for something he believed in. Best of luck in the next election; I’m fairly certain you might need it. 

Sincerely, Chris Kluwe

P.S. I’ve also been vocal as hell about the issue of gay marriage so you can take your “I know of no other NFL player who has done what Mr. Ayanbadejo is doing” and shove it in your close-minded, totally lacking in empathy piehole and choke on it. Asshole.

According to The Advocate,[23] Kluwe is no stranger to the pro-marriage equality medium of film; Kluwe has done several ads for Minnesotans for Equality. Earlier this year Kluwe spoke to Outsports, “I’ve always believed that people are inherently the same and should have the same rights and equal protection under the law. It really doesn’t matter what you do with who or whom as long as you’re not infringing on someone else’s rights. Everyone should be free to live their own life however it makes them happy.”

According to UPI (Pink News[24]), Raven’s General Manager Dick Cass issued a statement: “We support Brendon’s right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment.” Ayanbadejo said that he was surprised “something like this would come up, especially from a politician.” Ayanbadejo further said, “Surprisingly, Steelers fans, Patriots fans, Bengals fans, Cowboys fans, people who don’t even watch the NFL have all sent me messages saying that, ‘I now have a reason to watch football or even cheer of the Ravens because of your support for equality.’ so that feels good.”


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Would you, or someone you know, be a good fit for the American Humanist Associat...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

Here is an interesting letter to the editor of The Press Enterprise. http://www...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

Happy 271st Birthday Thomas Jefferson! Read Jefferson's wall of separation lett...

8 days ago

American Humanist Association

Oh good so there are options... Happy Friday Everyone!! http://obscureinternet....

9 days ago

American Humanist Association

The Bible According to Thomas Jefferson. http://thehumanist.com/magazine/march...

9 days ago

American Humanist Association

We are getting ready! Are you? Register today! http://conference.americanhumani...

9 days ago

American Humanist Association

Inheriting the Wind by Daniel Thomas Moran! http://thehumanist.com/arts_enterta...

9 days ago

American Humanist Association

Throwback Thursday! What did the July/August, 1981 issue of the Humanist magazi...

10 days ago

American Humanist Association

Oh good! Now we can all relax... Science is here! Four Blood Moons: Total Lunar...

10 days ago

American Humanist Association

Check out this info-graph from the Public Religion Research Institute. http://...

10 days ago

American Humanist Association

Rules Are for Schmucks: House Rules. By Luis Granados http://thehumanist.com/ne...

10 days ago

American Humanist Association

Another installment of Carl Coon's A Short History of Evolution. This week's top...

11 days ago

American Humanist Association

AHA's Matthew Bulger reports from On The Hill. http://thehumanist.com/news/nati...

11 days ago