A Mississippi-born 72-year old Maryland state lawmaker and Baltimore Baptist Minister used his office — and official office stationary — to possibly violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by writing a letter to the owner of the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens, Steve Bisciotti, attacking one of his football player’s support of same-sex marriage and a Maryland ballot initiative that will legalize marriage equality.
Maryland Delegate Emmett C. Burns – a Democrat who in February unleashed an exhaustive diatribe (excerpt, below,) against same-sex marriage that is all but impossible to believe it was spoken in the 21st century — demanded Raven’s owner Bisciotti “take the necessary actions… to inhibit such expressions from your employees and that he be ordered to cease and desist such injurious actions,” adding, “I know of no other NFL player who has done what Mr. Ayanbadejo is doing.”
What Brendon Ayanbadejo “is doing” is supporting marriage equality openly, as he did in his amazing video, below.
But on to Delegate Burns’ letter.
“As a Delegate to the Maryland General Assembly and a Baltimore Ravens Football fan, I find it inconceivable that one of your players, Brendon Ayanbadejo, would publicly endorse same-sex marriage, specifically, as a Ravens Football player,” Delegate Burns continued in his letter to Bisciotti. ”Many of my constituents are appalled and aghast that a member of the Ravens Football Team would step into this controversial divide and try to sway public opinion one way or the other. 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.”
NBC News’ Josh Alper last night reported that ”it’s inconceivable that Burns would make the request in the first place. Regardless of what side of this particular issue you might find yourself, Ayanbadejo’s right to believe what he wants about it and tell people what he believes falls well outside anything that concerns the Ravens. The Ravens had no comment beyond acknowledging they got the letter to the Washington Post and there’s zero chance they’ll follow through on Burns’ request.”
The Ravens may have had “no comment,” but Brendon Ayanbadejo did, and offered his thoughts via Twitter:
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!!!
— Brendon Ayanbadejo (@brendon310) September 5, 2012
Absolutely amazing! But that’s not the half of it. Here’s where we get to the best letter ever written to an anti-gay lawmaker. Enter Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, who decided that a tweet just wasn’t sufficient to contain his revulsion of Delegate Burns’ comments — and possible First Amendment violation.
Via Deadspin, Chris Kluwe’s letter to Delegate Emmett C. 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.
Kluwe had this response via Twitter:
Thank you everyone for the comments, I read and appreciate them all. Keep fighting for equality and freedom, it’s what makes us human.
— Chris Kluwe (@ChrisWarcraft) September 7, 2012
Wow. All around. Just wow.
Oh, and by the way, here’s a smattering of what Del. Burns had to say about same-sex marriage in February:
“I’m not a ‘homo-phobiac’ nor a ‘xeno-phobiac.’ People who have special propensities can do what they will,” Delegate Emmett Burns said. ”Same-sex marriage is bad for people of my church and bad for the state … I don’t want your protection … The law is that marriage is between a man and a WO-MAN,” he proclaimed. ”You cannot protect our churches – you don’t know how. Gays and lesbians are protected because they can hide their sexual orientation – they are already protected,” adding, ”Children are being used in this process. Children are being used for the purpose of same-sex marriage.”
Image by Freedom to Marry via Flickr
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