Gay marriage critics are old news

September 12, 2012


We are gathered here today to discuss two recent controversies about same-sex marriage. One comes from the world of pigskin, the other from the world of chicken fat.

You are surely familiar with the latter. It unfolded a few weeks ago over comments by Dan Cathy, president of Chick-fil-A. In interviews with the Biblical Recorder newspaper and radio host Ken Coleman, he confirmed his company’s opposition to same-sex marriage. “Guilty as charged,” he told the paper.

Cathy’s comments kicked off one of those only-in-America firestorms. Gay rights groups denounced the fast-food chain. Conservatives responded with a Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, which reportedly drove the company to record sales. Gay rights activists held a “kiss-in” that was less successful. The mayors of San Francisco, Chicago and Boston pronounced Chick-fil-A unwelcome in their towns. Conservative pundits noted, correctly, that an elected official who seeks to punish an unpopular opinion tramples the First Amendment. The Jim Henson Co. withdrew the Muppets from promotional deals with the restaurant chain.

And, oh yeah, some idiot carrying a bag filled with Chick-fil-A sandwiches walked into the Washington offices of the conservative Family Research Council where he shot and wounded a guard. “I don’t like your politics,” he reportedly said.

That’s a lot of furor over one man’s opinion. And you have to wonder why Dan Cathy’s views were news. Chick-fil-A’s conservative Christian orientation has been known for years — it supports groups like the FRC and even closes on Sundays. So Cathy’s comments, objectionable as they are to supporters of marriage equality, did not really tell us anything new.

Which brings us to pigskin. It seems one Emmett C. Burns Jr., a Maryland state lawmaker, recently wrote Steve Bisciotti, owner of the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens, insisting that he “inhibit” one of his players, Brendon Ayanbadejo, who has been working in support of gay marriage. The Ravens refused, and Burns’ letter brought him a ton of condemnation, most notably from another player, Chris Kluwe of the Minnesota Vikings, who penned a profane, yet cogent reply online.

For what it’s worth, if the Ravens wanted to punish Ayanbadejo, they theoretically could. Sports leagues have broad latitude to police behavior deemed “detrimental” to the game. John Rocker was banished from baseball for 14 days in 2000 for remarks offensive to gay people, foreigners and minorities. Kobe Bryant was fined $100,000 in 2011 for using an anti-gay slur.

But the NFL has taken no such action here. To the contrary, Ayanbadejo says he has been overwhelmed by support from his teammates and other players.

Think about that: the NFL is a temple of testosterone, a shrine to manly men doing manly things and as such, you would expect it to be ground zero of heebie jeebies over all things gay. Apparently, it is not.

Apologies to Sam Cooke, then, but a change has come. What else can you conclude when even young conservatives like Meghan McCain now disavow conservatism’s opposition to marriage equality? Or when you consider that in 1995, just 27 percent of us supported it and now half of us do?

This is not to say the battle is won. It is not.

Still, things being as they are, one finds it difficult to worry overmuch about a bunch of people who think buying chicken sandwiches can forestall what seems increasingly inevitable. Every revolution has its dead-enders who bring up the rear, fighting for the lost cause.

But the trajectory of this particular revolution seems clear. So the headline here is not the old news that Dan Cathy opposes this human right, but the pleasant surprise that Brendon Ayanbadejo does not.

— Leonard Pitts Jr. is a columnist for the Miami Herald. He chats with readers from noon to 1 p.m. CDT each Wednesday on


gr 1 year, 7 months ago

"1. If Jesus did not mention a subject, it must not be essential to his teachings."

I do not recall Jesus mentioning even once in the New testament anything about copulating with a dead dear.

Why do some say it is wrong?

Is it because they are bigots?


Ray Parker 1 year, 7 months ago

Hollywood leftist perverts will be leading the fight to end discrimination against incestors. Hollywood director Nick Cassevetes, promoting a new film “Yellow” featuring incest between siblings, announced he is in favor of legalized incest. The polygamists, incestors, polyamorists, pedophiles, and zoophiles are waiting their turn to demand an end to discrimination against their preferred perversion, and to demand their right to marry. There is no safety rail around the abyss at the bottom of the slippery slope, folks.

Slippery Slope

Slippery Slope by parkay


verity 1 year, 7 months ago

I do support bringing back the veil. You know, the nice attractive ones from the forties or like Jacqueline Kennedy wore to the funerals. Some of us are at an age where a little coverage and mystery would be to the good of society.


heygary 1 year, 7 months ago

What I find most striking in the positions that “Progressives” take is the fundamental lack of consistency in their beliefs. This Pitts article is a perfect example!

Pitts attempts to ridicule Christians because their long held religious beliefs do not sanction same-sex “marriage”. To him they are “dead-enders who bring up the rear, fighting for the lost cause.”

This comes the day after Muslims attack the U.S. missions in Egypt and Libya (killing 4 Americans) because a film being produced in the United States was perceived to have insulted Prophet Mohammad. Our embassy’s official responses was "Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy," adding that it condemned the efforts by "misguided individuals" to hurt the feelings of Muslims and our President’s response was “the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others”.

I am not a particularly religious person and, as such, have no dog in this hunt. I do, however, abhor inconsistency! My mother use to say “charity starts at home”. Perhaps the same should apply to “respect for religious beliefs”.


Roland Gunslinger 1 year, 7 months ago

Nine Things I Wish the Church and its Attendees Knew About Homosexuality:

  1. If Jesus did not mention a subject, it must not be essential to his teachings.

  2. You are not being persecuted when prevented from persecuting others.

  3. You cannot call it "special rights" when someone asks for the same rights you have.

  4. It is no longer you personal religious views if you're bothering someone else.

  5. Marriage is a civil ceremony, which means it is a civil right.

  6. If how someone stimulates the pubic nerve has become the needle to your moral compass, you are the one who is lost.

  7. To condemn homosexuality you must use parts of the Bible you don't obey yourself. Anyone who obeyed every part of Leviticus would rightly be put in prison.

  8. If we do not do the right thing in our day, our grandchildren will look at us with the same embarrassment we look at racist grandparents.

  9. When Jesus forbade judging, that included you.


gr 1 year, 7 months ago

"This is not to say the battle is won. It is not."

And when it is, then it's on to Timmy as two moms and two dads.

Oh, wait. Isn't California already promoting such stuff?

And they said it was a slippery slope fallacy. Rather, it's a ride down the slippery slope of our nation's demise. Anyone know what happened to Rome? See anything similar happening here?


mom_of_three 1 year, 7 months ago

I dont object to Dan Cathy saying he opposes gay marriage. I oppose his view that children of gay parents are more emotionally unstable and how gay marriage will ruin the country and will bring god's wrath. He has NO evidence about the instability of gay kids (which he probably got from his right wing anti gay groups)( AND where does he think gay kids come from anyway - they come from straight parents) And he really has no idea what god thinks.
THAT's what I oppose from Dan Cathy's interview.


Pastor_Bedtime 1 year, 7 months ago

If you are so bigoted that you feel same-sex marriage threatens your traditional marriage, then you probably don't have the most stable marriage to begin with.


Peter Macfarlane 1 year, 7 months ago

Social conservatives are not interested in protecting the freedoms we enjoy. They are all about telling and making rules that force you and I into living the way they want you to live.


JonasGrumby 1 year, 7 months ago

The right-wing extremists will point out that Obama's official position was exactly the same as Mr. Cathy's just a few months ago. Of course, that is not fair since Obama would have lost in 2008 if he had changed his position earlier.

Government should not restrict the right to marry. If two (or more) people love another, even if they are biologically related, government should play no role in saying no. I draw the line at humans marrying animals since there is no way to tell if the animal consents.


Paul R Getto 1 year, 7 months ago

But the trajectory of this particular revolution seems clear. So the headline here is not the old news that Dan Cathy opposes this human right, but the pleasant surprise that Brendon Ayanbadejo does not. ====

Good points here. Someday this debate will look silly in retrospect.


Armstrong 1 year, 7 months ago

Nothing shocking aboout Lenny's column. Pandering to the left is not new for Len.


observant 1 year, 7 months ago

See the nutcases aren't awake yet or still choking on coffee when they opened Pitts column.


grammaddy 1 year, 7 months ago

20 years from now,our kids and grandkids will look at us and consider us fools that this was ever even an issue. Live and let live.


Commenting has been disabled for this item.