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Pro sports more gay-friendly as athletes including Vikings punter Chris Kluwe speak out

BY PATRICK CONDON, ASSOCIATED PRESS

deadspinMINNEAPOLIS -- NFL punters are only seen on fourth down and heard from less than that. But with Minnesota voters weighing whether to ban gay marriage this fall, Vikings punter Chris Kluwe has emerged as a high-profile gay rights champion - and a symbol of changing attitudes toward homosexuality in the sports world.

"I'd like to win some votes against the amendment," Kluwe told The Associated Press. "It would permanently change the state constitution. Who are we to say we should decide what our children should do on this subject? If we're not the generation to make gay marriage legal, why should we prevent our children having a say on the matter?"

Kluwe, a colorful 30-year-old with political science and history degrees from UCLA, is known for his love of video games, for getting a perfect score on the verbal portion of the SAT test and for his liberal political views. He agreed some time ago to speak out against Minnesota's amendment and headlined a long-planned fundraiser against the amendment Friday night.

But Kluwe got a massive new audience for his views after he penned a blistering open letter to a Maryland state lawmaker who criticized another NFL player, Brendon Ayanbadejo of the Baltimore Ravens, for supporting gay marriage with the issue also on Maryland's ballot.

"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?" Kluwe wrote to Delegate Emmett C. Burns Jr. The full letter, posted by the sports website Deadspin.com, was laced with profanity and sarcasm.

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