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October 21, 2011

Ravens linebacker pushes for same-sex marriage

Ravens player Brendon Ayanbadejo is putting his considerable heft behind passing a gay marriage bill in Maryland and will star in a new video that will be released today pushing for the measure.

In the video Ayanbadejo looks directly into the camera and says: "I believe we should be doing everything that we can to make Maryland families stronger which is why I support marriage for gay and lesbian couples who want to make a life time commitment to each other."

"People from all walks of life including gay and lesbian couples want their children to be in stable homes and protected by the law. Join me and the majority of Marylanders who support marriage equality."

A new coalition, Marylanders for Marriage Equality, plans a state-wide media campaign to build support for the measure in advance of the January legislative session. The first video of what they said will be a series was released earlier this month and featured Gov. Martin O'Malley.

Opponents of the measure also have support from a NFL player. Shortly after Ayanbadejo initially supported the Maryland bill last spring, wide-receiver Derrick Mason (who is no longer a Raven), said in a radio interview that he believes marriage is should be between a man and a woman.

A gay nuptials law nearly passed last spring in Maryland, and O'Malley over the summer pledged to make it one of his priorities in the upcoming legislative session. Should the bill pass next session it is likely to be petitioned to referendum and would appear on the 2012 ballot.

Ayanbadejo, a three time Pro-Bowl player, has been outspoken in support of gay marriage for the past few years. He cut a video supporting the legislation last session, though it was not heavily promoted in the state. In a 2009 Baltimore Sun article my colleague Kevin Van Valkenburg profiled Ayanbadejo and quoted from a column the player penned in the Huffington Post that year:

"If Britney Spears can party it up in Vegas with one of her boys and go get married on a whim and annul her marriage the next day, why can't a loving same-sex couple tie the knot?" Ayanbadejo wrote. "How could our society grant more rights to a heterosexual, one-night-stand wedding in Vegas than a gay couple that has been together for 3, 5, 10 years of true love?"

In his piece, Van Valkenburg wrote: "It's an experience to stand next to the 6-foot-1, 225-pound Ayanbadejo and carry on a conversation. Physically, he's an intimidating presence, with muscles so sharply defined, you can imagine him doing push-ups and crunches in his sleep. There isn't another player on the Ravens, from Ray Lewis on down, who takes fitness and nutrition as seriously as Ayanbadejo."

"But he's also one of the worldliest Ravens, a definition that fits him both figuratively and literally. Although Ayanbadejo was born in Chicago in 1976, he and his family moved to Lagos, Nigeria, when he was 1 and lived there for three years before returning to the United States."

Posted by Annie Linskey at 11:00 AM | | Comments (45)
Categories: Same-Sex Marriage


it's good to see that they are able to get some strong supporters for gay's rights. Hopefully soon they will get their right to marry.

Eeven though it is my personal belief that the word marriage should be taken out of all together. Everyone should have civil unions

Just make tackles. Homosexuality is a deviant sin and always will be.

Who are you to judge others HenryO?
What right do you have to impose your beliefs on others?

If two homosexuals who are in a loving consensual relationship can marry, why can't three adults, or four who are in a loving consensual relationship marry? If we are changing the historical definition of marriage, who are you to say that it only applies to two people. Please factually tell me the difference? There is none.

Wonderful, simply wonderful.

Wow, nice argument. Simply Insert what you are against and add the words 'is a deviant sin and always will be.'

Climate change is a deviant sin and always will be.

Bank Regulation is a deviant sin and always will be.

The designated hitter is a deviant sin and always will be.


But it doesnt really move anyone to your side - not that you care, you just want to shout the loudest in a national shouting match.

....not to overlook the fact reported in Business Week that New York state stands to take in an estimated 100 million dollars per year from the gay weddings.......leave it to the gays to create jobs and leave it to Maryland to eat dust!

he lost his man card for this.

These comments are great. The bigots among us have clearly run out of arguments and have essentially resorted to screaming "THE SKY IS FALLING!" as loud as they can. Thankfully, they seem to be on the losing side of history. Two decades from now nobody will ever admit they were against this.

Unmarried sex is a sin, lying, stealing is a sin. Being in Love isn't a Sin. You Christians slay me.


Mr Ayanbadejo's manhood is jeopardized neither by this act of bravery and integrity, nor by your childish pouting about it.

I'm glad he supports the marriage of Hines Ward and Troy Polamalu.

@Ed Reed...gotta admit that was a good joke lol

Gay people have every right to be as miserable as straight people.

As long as we're being so liberal with the centuries old definition of "marriage", why not a man and a sheep, or a woman and a horse? Or, a woman and a horse and a dog?

I'm not the judge, John. God is. That's His opinion, I just happen to agree with Him. And stealing His rainbow covenant as the symbol for homosexual sin and using key words like "gay" "equality" and "equal rights" doesn't change His word, Not one bit.

John, aren't YOU making a judgment? Henry is entitled to his opinion. I agree with him, homosexuality is a filthy, disgusting sin. You and all gay supporters should be ashamed of yourselves. No children should be exposed to such a filthy lifestyle.

Gay people are already miserable. They hide behind the word "gay" and get as many gullible fools as possible to join their agenda because misery loves company. The fact that they try to convince kids that being gay is normal and acceptable is akin to child abuse. I hope Maryland NEVER passes marriage for gays, I never vote for it, or accept it. And I am immune to your name calling, means nothing to me.

Oh, I get it. Anybody that disagrees with homosexuality and the perverted things they do is a bigot. OK, then under those terms, I am certainly a bigot.


Have you talked to God? Or did you read it out of the man made book called the Bible? There are different religions that teach different things. Unless you died talked to God and came back you don't really know how he/she feels about gay marriage. I mean you could essentially be offending him/her for saying he hates gay marriage.

Good for him. Every Civil Rights movement needs brave people of conscience to stand up for what is right. Equality is the American way. Hopefully these loving gay families and their children will experience the equal protections and dignity of marriage soon.


and no child should be exposed to your bigotry. What happened to loving thy fellow man. Would Jesus really commend someone that is gay. No he would embrace him/her


Don't you ever speak for G*d. Your eyes, your ears, your brain, every last cell in your body is flawed, fallible, completely imperfect in all ways that G*d is perfect. Don't you ever presume to know G*d's Will for the world. Do what you can, live the best you can, but to speak for G*d is BLASPHEMY. Do you PRESUME to be so perfect that you understand the infinite perfection of G*d's Will and the infinite nuances of His mind?

Astounded, and appalled.


As tiresome as it is to keep responding to this canard, I apparently need to remind you that civil marriage requires the consent of both parties, something a sheep, horse, or dog is unable to provide.


As a happy Gay man, I refute your analysis, on several fronts. Being Gay is entirely normal, perhaps not for you but certainly for me. Left-handedness is also not "normal." Do you also not "accept" it?

As a wise man once said, not accepting homosexuality is like not accepting gravity.

It takes a real man like Brendon Ayanbadejo to stand up and fight for the rights of others. A true role model on and off the field for all to see. Thanks Brendon!


Just as fervently, I hope no children are ever exposed to your filthy, narrow-minded notion of Christian love.

Thanks to this man for supporting such a worthwhile cause. As for the "god" arguments in here, they pertain to religious (church) marriages but this issue is civil marriage. Civil marriage is not an act of god, it's an act of Government. You go to a courthouse of a secular gov't and pay for a license that confers tax and other legal benefits, the same as other licenses for cars, boats, and fishing. Opponents' views on god should no longer determine civil policy.

@easywriter01, as long as your being so unprogressive/conservative, why isnt it that you are not pushing for marriage to be a financial transaction where the father sells his slave-child-property to the husband to become the latter's slave-wife-property?

That was marriage in old Testament times, which you seem to love. Jesus, never said anything bad about gays, but he railed against hypocrites like you

Hate is a deviant sin.

@JanetFD, From your comment above, I bet you'd probably be surprised to know that anybody that considers black people beneath them just because of the color of their skin is a bigot. Characterizing a group of people as "perverted" just because of who they are is no differenet from stereotyping another group, say blacks, as being lazy. You should be ashamed of yourself. Who are you to judge? One man's healthy, yet exciting sex life is another man's perversion. Maybe you're just jealous.

Any other straight, Christian, conservatives here for gay marriage, or is it just me?
The straight part of me don't care.
The Christian part of me will leave judgement (if any) up to the omnipotent being upstairs, otherwise what two people do in the privacy of their bedroom is between them.
The conservative in me believes in less government, and doesn't like the though of it preventing the union of two consenting adults.

While were at it can we legalize marijuana too? I just want the government out of our lives. As long as were not hurting anyone, why does it matter?

I am not gay, but support anyone who wants to be in a committed relationship. Everyone using God or religion as a reason to bash gays must live boring lives. I guess you all have only had sex with your spouse and no one else EVER in your entire lives. After all extramarital sex is a sin, but I guess all you God people are perfect and are non sinners, or do you just pick and choose which beliefs are important for you to follow?!

Professional sports is a critically important place for us to promote tolerance. Thanks to this player, Grant Hill of the Phoenix Suns, Pro Rugby Player Ben Cohen and many others, we are finding that they understand the importance of taking a stand and being true role models.

Bravo, 51, once again.

MikeN, Your comment itself shows how childish you are and unable to provide a legitimate answer. The FACT is you can not provide an answer as to why if the millennium old definition of marriage is being changed, why can't three or four consenting adults who are in a loving relationship marry. Who are you to say it is only two men or two women that meet this new definition. Comparing polygamy (of which I'm not an advocate) to bestiality is absurd, there is no consent. Answer please with a factual argument....WHY CAN'T THREE PEOPLE MARRY THEN?
Interesting that one of the first things the new President of Libya has done with their "freedom" is to suspend laws against polygamy.


Speaking as a Gay man and as an advocate of marriage equality (i.e., same-sex marriage), I'd like to respond to your challenge to MikeN.

I think the best argument against polygamy (aside from irrational and irrelvant religious objections) is its high potential for abuse (as typified by the recent FLDS cases). Personally, I would have no objection to civil polygamy, provided safeguards were put in place to protect potential "victims" (not entirely sure what those safeguards might be)and that all permutations regarding gender were permitted.

Never been happier that Derrick Mason was gone from Baltimore.

The ban on Polygamy will continue to survive for some very practical reasons. First, marriage's main purpose is to establish kinship, and cement domestic stability. Polygamy has always been about men owning less powerful women, and there is not indication that this has changed. Also: who is next of kin, if someone has to speak for you at the hospital, or determine funeral arrangements?

Thanks to DOMA legally married same-sex military spouses are denied health insurance, commissary and other base privileges, housing allowance, etc. as compared with their opposite-sex married counterparts. For those interested – has been providing a supportive environment for friending, sharing and networking between Gay active military, vets and supporters since December, 2010.

High potential for abuse? Marriage's main purpose is to establish "kinship? Gary47290 how dare you try and inflict your morals on adults that are consenting and make a choice to live a lifestyle. if three men love each other, why can't they be married. Why is marriage just two? Tradition? That is a pathetic argument. The truth is because changing the definition of marriage opens up all kinds of possibilities. Civil unions are needed and should be allowed, but changing the definition of marriage not so much.

Dear all, especially so called Christians writing on this page. You should know, first of all, that your words describe you not as a beleivers, but haters. Jesus has never spoken about gays... Most of the anti-gay material you can find in the old testament but that is so irrelevant. God loves all of us and we just like to hate whoever does not agree with our beleifs. Jesus was not like that and he still got crucified by the ones like you. Try to love a little bit more, take one step at the time if it is too hard for you just to love. BTW, Christian teaching does not say that homosexuality is sin, but homosexual act as well as sex before marriage, anal sex between man and woman, lying, steeling and hypocracy...

Another thing to consider when talking about marriage equality, are the right of the intersex folks. Intersex folks are folks who are neither XX (female) nor XY (male). Thus we have no simple opposite sex. Many intersex folks could superficially 'pass' as a particular common gender.. but it would be a lie. But if we make marriage gender neutral all the complications fade away.

also to the multiple marriage for the sake of argument folks.. that is a classic red herring. ie, since you have no good argument against gender neutral marriage equality, you want to change the topic.

Its Adam and Eve not Adam Evan. No one use the excuse of oh no one knows that god doesnt like gays its not rocket science. You let this slip and give them rights next people will ask for marriage with monkeys and why stop them its free will

I consider homosexuality to be disgusting but there is nothing wrong with the government awarding civil benefits though it should not be in the business of issuing marriages at all, but allow an individual or group to determine whatever probate agreement they want. What is wrong is the government forcing anyone to perfom a marriage against their religious beliefs and also awarding special privileges like affirmative action.

First off, the New Testaments has multiple examples of homosexuality being sinful. Jesus always loved the sinner and hated the sin. That is what we should do. We should love the person for their dignity as a person but reject their erroroneous ways.

Second, if you are going to remove all barriers/restrictions of marriage, then any groups of adults should be able to marry, brothers could marry brother, mothers could marry adult sons, and so on and so on.

Third, the person who claims that we are all sinners and all hypocrits is being irrational. So since we all do bad things, does that mean we should all legalize bad things?

Fourth, to those who say pologamy is a far-fetched idea, PLEASE, they are already trying to advance the legalization of pologamy in some areas!

Also, to those who state that it does not hurt anyone: does psychological damage count? To indoctrinate children with the thoughts of homosexual activities being normal and healthy is absolutely irresponsible. There are real psychological effects of teaching something so unnatural to young children. It steals their innocence. It has been shown to be damaging to their image of sex. How far down the moral drain will our country have to go before someone stands up and says enough is enough? To give everyone the right to do whatever they want will never happen. Can you drive whatever speed you want? Can you go the wrong way on the road? No, laws are in effect to protect the good of society. Just because something is not physically damaging does not mean it is not doing serious damage to the whole of society!

Let's think about it, Society has ALWAYS regulated marriage and sex. It does so for the benefit of the whole of soceity. Unless you're talking about removing every single barrier and restriction off the definition of marriage (pologamy, incest, etc), then you are a hypocrite.

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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