MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — You had to stand in a long line Friday at the Crooked Pint Ale House if you wanted to shake the hand of Vikings punter Chris Kluwe.
And the line wasn’t made up of football fans.
Kluwe made national headlines after he wrote a scathing letter defending gay marriage. His letter was written after a Maryland politician criticized a Baltimore Raven’s player’s decision to support marriage equality. And after the letter went viral, even daytime talk show host Ellen DeGeneres proclaimed Tuesday on her show: “Now, I’m a huge fan of the Vikings and the Ravens.”
“As athletes, you know, we can make a difference,” Kluwe said Friday at a fundraiser. “We can make a change.”
He said a coach/teacher from a local school told him that his letter would save students’ lives.
That teacher was David Schorn, of St. Cloud. Schorn said he wanted to meet Kluwe to thank him.
“As a gay teacher and as a gay coach, I can see that how much of what he says…means a lot to students.”
Kluwe’s letter to Baltimore County State Delegate Emmett Burns opens: “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.”
Esera Tuaolo, a former NFL defensive tackle, also said Friday night that he was moved by Kluwe’s comments.
“When I came out in 2003, never in my wildest dreams did I ever thought that a player would step up to the plate, for me, for my community,” he said.
And Kluwe is not the only Minnesota public figure speaking out for gay rights. Former Gov. Jesse Ventura recently appeared in a YouTube video, in which he said, “Love is, by bar, bigger than government can ever be.”
Has Kluwe heard any feedback about his letter? Not from the Vikings.
“The organization has been very supportive about my right to make my views known,” Kluwe said.
As for that letter, Kluwe says he has yet to hear back from Burns.
“I’m not holding my breath,” Kluwe said.
WCCO-TV reached out to the main group supporting the marraige amendment on the November ballot, Minnesotans for Marriage. The group’s director of communications, Chuck Darrell, said he does not believe Kluwe’s letter will change a single vote in Minnesota. He said:
“Kluwe’s profanity ridden attack on Maryland state Del. Emmett Burns Jr. won’t change a single vote in Minnesota. In fact, Kluwe’s mean-spirited comments are a perfect example of the kind of attacks Minnesotans can expect if same-sex marriage is legalized in Minnesota. Ironically, Kluwe brings to light how same-sex marriage won’t co-exist alongside traditional marriage. The law will allow no room for those people – a strong majority of Minnesotans – who for personal, ethnic, moral or religious reasons cannot agree with the new definition of marriage. Minnesotans who simply believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, and that kids need a mom and a dad, don’t deserve these kinds of foul-mouthed attacks.”