NFL Players File Brief in Prop 8 Case

NFL Players File Brief in Prop 8 Case March 5, 2013

This is cool.Brendon Ayanbadejo, a linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens, and Chris Kluwe, punter for the Minnesota Vikings, have long been outspoken in their support of LGBT equality. Now they’ve filed a brief in the Prop 8 case before the Supreme Court, urging the court to uphold the lower court ruling that struck down Prop 8. What I didn’t know is that both of them went to UCLA, so they have close ties to California. The brief says:

In short, just as application of the labels “gay” and “queer” in derogation indicate that one class of people is inferior, deprival of the label and status “married” equally indicates that the class is inferior. Even a fifth grader knows that words have very serious meaning, and even a fifth grader can see that the proponents of Proposition 8 provide no reasoned, evidence-based rationale for taking away that label and that all-important status. In America, there truly is no freedom until we’re equal.

The brief was written by Timothy Holbrook, a law professor at Emory University. And interestingly, the brief does talk about their status as professional athletes:

Sports figures receive a celebrity status that influences a large majority of the American population. For far too long, professional sports have been a bastion of bigotry, intolerance, and smallminded prejudice toward sexual orientation, just as they had been to racial differences decades earlier. That is finally changing, and changing drastically. The NFL, NHL, MLB, and NBA, at the league level, team level, and individual level, are finally speaking

out against homophobia and intolerance of LBGTQ individuals. More and more of us realize that using demeaning slur words like “faggot,” “queer,” and “gay” can have serious, negative consequences.

Not necessarily consequences for us. Instead, consequences for the children and adults who look up to us as role models and leaders. Consequences for children and adults who mimic our behavior when they interact with others. And consequences that can be severe, long-lasting, and not infrequently lead to suicide and other serious harm.

America has an ideal—exhibited imperfectly in the original Constitution and more perfectly in the Fourteenth Amendment—that all should be treated equally for what they are. When our government discriminates properly, it does so, not based on what we inherently are, but instead to regulate our negative actions against each other. Courts exist—

because of men who long ago placed individual freedom as an ultimate principle for their country—to correct government action that takes away freedoms when that action is motivated by fear and prejudice rather than by evidence and logic. This Court should correct Proposition 8’s action to remove marriage rights from same-sex couples because, as the district court and the Ninth Circuit majority so carefully explained, the advocates of Proposition 8 provided no evidence-based rationale—as opposed to one based on fear and prejudice—for treating LBGTQ citizens differently with respect to marriage.

Well said. You can read the full brief here.

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