Birk, Kluwe at odds over gay marriage

Former Vikings teammates Matt Birk and Chris Kluwe have strongly opposing views on gay marriage.

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe has found some opposition from another NFL player in his continuing support of gay marriage rights.

Former Vikings center Matt Birk, Kluwe's teammate for four years in Minnesota, took an opposing stance Sunday in an opinion piece in the Minnneapolis Star Tribune, in response to Kluwe's pro-gay marriage viewpoint that has become a public topic since the punter's scathing response to a Maryland politician. Kluwe has written multiple commentaries touching on varied topics for the St. Paul Pioneer Press and the website Deadspin.

Birk, taking a stance against gay marriage rights, wrote, "Same-sex unions may not affect my marriage specifically, but it will affect my children -- the next generation."

Birk's response was in direct correlation to Kluwe's much-publicized stance. Birk is a Harvard graduate, and Kluwe is well known for his intelligent (and sometimes profane) commentary on a number of issues.

"The conversation during the last few weeks on the subject of same-sex marriage has told a different story -- one that appears to be drawing a false connection between supporting true American values like free speech and the institution of marriage, our most fundamental and important social institution," Birk wrote. "I think it is important to set the record straight about what the marriage debate is and is not about and to clarify that not all NFL players think redefining marriage is a good thing."

Birk said he wasn't offending any person or group with his defense of traditional marriage and was focused on kids.

"With good reason, government recognizes marriages and gives them certain legal benefits so they can provide a stable, nurturing environment for the next generation of citizens: our kids," Birk wrote. "Children have a right to a mom and a dad, and I realize that this doesn't always happen. Through the work my wife and I do at pregnancy resource centers and underprivileged schools, we have witnessed firsthand the many heroic efforts of single mothers and fathers -- many of whom work very hard to provide what's best for their kids."

Birk said the issue was too important to remain silent.

"Same-sex unions may not affect my marriage specifically, but it will affect my children -- the next generation," Birk wrote. "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."

Of course, Kluwe saw Birk's comments and wrote another piece Monday for the Pioneer Press, the crosstown newspaper from the one Birk's opinions appeared in. Kluwe couldn't resist the chance to offer a rebuttal. The punter said he respects Birk, calling him a "smart, funny person" and noted the center's work with "the concussion issue facing disabled players." But Kluwe said he thinks Birk is wrong on the issue of gay marriage rights.

"Problem the first -- Your argument lacks facts, sources, or statistics," Kluwe wrote. "You can't just say "Same-sex marriage is bad for kids because I think it's bad for kids, and I think it's bad for kids because it's bad for kids. That's called circular reasoning and it's a logical fallacy. If you want us to understand why same-sex marriage is bad for kids, you need to provide some sort of substantial evidence."

Kluwe offered six reasons why he believed Birk's rebuttal missed the point, including the fact that gay marriage would affect Birk's kids.

"The only impact same-sex marriage will have on your children is if one of them turns out to be gay and cannot get married," Kluwe wrote. "What will you do (and I ask this honestly) if one or more of your kids ends up being gay? Will you love them any less? What will your actions speak to them, 15 years from now, when they ask you why they can't enjoy the same relationship that you and your wife have now? And if your response is 'We'll cross that bridge when we come to it,' well, for a lot of people that bridge is here right now. They're trying to cross it, but the way is barred, and I will do my best to tear those barricades down any way I can because I believe that we are infringing on the free will of other human beings by denying them their basic right to live free of oppression."

Kluwe didn't want the two opposing letters to stop the discussion.

"I remain unconvinced by any logical reasoning you have so far brought to bear on the subject," Kluwe wrote. "I encourage you to keep speaking out, as we should never be afraid to espouse our views, but from a rational standpoint I simply cannot agree with discrimination against a subset of our citizenry."

And then he finished with a thought for his former teammate, "(Miss you at the crossword puzzles)," Kluwe wrote.

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