Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


Community Voices features opinion pieces from a wide variety of authors and perspectives. (Submission Guidelines)

Why speak out for gay rights? It’s the right thing to do

Chris Kluwe
MinnPost photo by Jana FreibandChris Kluwe

“Why do you speak out in support of the gay community?”

I’ve been asked this question multiple times, at multiple events, and every time I give the same answer: “Because it’s the right thing to do. Treat others the way you’d like to be treated.”

A simple lesson, one we all learn in kindergarten, yet one that so many people seem to forget as they go through life; as they become more preoccupied with greed, narcissism, hate, and selfishness.

Such an easy equation, and yet so difficult for those lacking empathy to solve, unable to put themselves in another person’s shoes, failing to comprehend the complete dickishness of their actions (actions they would not want perpetrated upon themselves), convinced of their own smug superiority as they try to control someone else´s life.

Why do I speak out in support of the gay community?

Because the words, “We should round them all up and send them to an island to die,” are absolutely abhorrent to any rational-minded person and should never be uttered by one member of the human race about another.

Why do I speak out in support of the gay community?

Because the actions of bullying, intolerance, and bigotry, actions that have driven (and will continue to drive) young children and adults to suicide, are actions any creature with an ounce of empathy within their soul ought condemn as the twisted depravity they truly are.

Why do I speak out in support of the gay community?

Because I wish to live in freedom, and every time I contemplate that freedom, I am reminded of a poem by Martin Niemoller:

First they came for the communists,

and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the socialists,

and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,

and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,

and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me,

and there was no one left to speak for me.

I speak for freedom, even though it is a freedom I currently have. I speak for equality, even though I am currently equal. I speak for justice, even though it is a justice I currently do not need. I speak for gay rights and the rights of every person, no matter their religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual predisposition, or social or economic status, to live free of the chains of oppression and hate, the barbs of ignorance and small minded fear, because that is the life I want to live – a life where I can make my own choices. A life where I can be who I am, not what someone else decides I should be.

TREAT OTHERS THE WAY YOU WANT TO BE TREATED. If we do not make this the cornerstone of our society, if we do not understand that infringing on the freedom of consenting adults to live their lives (in whatever fashion that happens to be) is infringing on the freedom of us all, then we will eventually join other society, culture, and civilization that has ever existed, on the trash heap of history marked “Failure” — brought there by conflicts those civilizations bred into being, conflicts between those lacking empathy and those desirous of freedom.

Why do I speak out in support of gay rights, of all rights to equality?

Because if I don’t, then who will be left to speak for me?

Chris Kluwe is the punter for the Minnesota Vikings. This piece first appeared in The Huffington Post. Reprinted with Chris Kluwe’s permission.

You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by Mike Haubrich on 04/29/2013 - 05:48 pm.

    Gay Marriage

    I speak out because I believe that the right to marry is one that government should not be taking away. I certainly appreciate that you have been so vocal on this topic, and so visible. I am not gay, but I am a Minnesotan and will be happy to see that my friends and people that I don’t even know yet, will be able to marry the person that they choose to marry without the obstruction of regressive elements.

    The legal protections are important, yes, but most importantly the human element of decency to allow our fellow residents and citizens the right to choose their lives and their partners is the most important reason to remove the restrictions on gay marriage.

  2. Submitted by Pat Berg on 04/29/2013 - 06:11 pm.

    Thank you, Chris.

    Thank you Chris. That’s all – just thank you.

  3. Submitted by stan James on 04/29/2013 - 06:57 pm.

    gays marrying

    I’d like to point out two situations

    In one I had lost contact with a gay college student for a couple years. We “re-met ” in the campaign to win marriage in MD, which happened

    He told me afterwards that he had tried to commit suiicde twice etc

    And if the marriage referendum bill went aganst marriage her he would have probably bought a gun to end his life

    Second – I asked another gay college youngster who seem depressed if he was sucidal

    His response ” I wouldn’t commit ssuicided becaause my catholic parents would celebrate my death.

    Same sort of thing/ Marriage is more then just rights etc. Its about respecting anc protecting the life of gay people, especially children

    About 3000 gay kids commit suiicide every year, out of 8000-9000 total. And nobody knows how many of the suicides with no aapparent reason were due to gay people in the closet. Prob anothjer thousand

  4. Submitted by Elizabeth Erickson on 04/30/2013 - 08:00 am.

    Chris is a class act

    Thanks so much Chris –You set a great example of someone who uses his fame to really help others. Your genuine sense of fairness and justice comes through so clearly in your message. In addition to supporting people’s right to marry whomever they choose, I also want to extend a special thanks to you for supporting our orchestra that is being destroyed right in front of our eyes. Your presence and support at the Bruckner concert meant more to the musicians and patrons than you can possibly know.

  5. Submitted by Stephen Dent on 04/30/2013 - 11:34 am.

    Chris, you’re right!

    Treat others the way you want to be treated and many of this world’s problems will evaporate. Thank you for your continued and visible support. Perhaps Senjem might get it? Perhaps.

  6. Submitted by Steve Hoffman on 04/30/2013 - 12:27 pm.

    An Asset

    Chris, you’re one of the gems of Minnesota. Thank you for speaking out on behalf of treating others as one would wish to be treated oneself — a concept that many seem to have lost touch with on this particular issue.

  7. Submitted by Diane Nelson on 04/30/2013 - 02:25 pm.

    That Awesome Golden Rule

    You cannot go wrong in abiding by it in every facet of your life.

    Thank you Chris!!

Leave a Reply