I Grew Up Around Gay People And (Shocker) Didn’t Turn Gay.

If you’ve been a reader for a while here, you know that occasionally I sidetrack from my typical entrepreneurial rhetoric and life wisdom to focus my thoughts on faith, equality, and the economy. The topic of equality hits especially close to home (see here) – and while I typically stay out of the conversation, a recent letter written by, of all people, Minnesotta Viking punter Chris Kluwe – sums up my thoughts – and most likely the thoughts of anyone who isn’t offended by the idea of equal rights and gay marriage – perfectly.

The brief backstory: Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo spoke out in favor Maryland legislation that would legalize gay marraige. In response, Maryland state delegate Emmett C. Burns Jr. wrote to Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, urging him to “inhibit such expressions from your employee”. The below is an excerpt from Chris Kluwe’s direct response to Burns.

“…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?”

Religion aside – it has always boggled my mind that legally, our citizens – regardless of who they choose to go to bed with – are not guaranteed the same equal rights. I can’t find a reason that in many ways, we still live in the dark ages of equality. But Kluwe hits the nail on the head…

It’s fear. We fear most what we do not understand. And as ridiculous as some of what Kluwe is saying may sound – it’s not ridiculous at all. Growing up, my father fought for custody of me multiple times out of the fear that I’d “turn gay” as a result of growing up in a home with a gay mother.

Come to find out, gay people don’t have magic “gay dust” that rubs off on you if you spend too much time around them. But the close-mindedness of many likely does have them believing that if a gay couple moves next door – it’s going to have an impact on their family. That homosexuality is an evil abomination that will ruin their perfect view of the world.

Kluwe’s response made me want to slow clap and shake his hand (and I’m a Chicago Bears fan, so that’s saying a lot). For me, it’s common sense that everyone (everyone) is entitled to equal rights – and that regardless of how terrible you may think gay marriage is – your hatred toward those who live that lifestyle is far, far worse.