Chris Kluwe sticks up for gay marriage

Plus, high school mural and police brutality start a flurry of controversy

Early last week, Vikings punter Chris Kluwe said Maryland Delegate Emmett C. Burns Jr. (D-Baltimore County) is "literally an asshole" for writing a letter demanding that Baltimore Ravens ownership silence linebacker and outspoken gay-marriage advocate Brendon Ayanbadejo.

But Kluwe wasn't satisfied. Last Friday, he wrote a letter to Burns in hopes of persuading the Baptist minister "to reflect upon the magnitude of the colossal foot in mouth clusterfuck you so brazenly unleashed on a man whose only crime was speaking out for something he believed in."

The letter, published on Deadspin, cites the First Amendment ("not only are you clearly violating the First Amendment, you also come across as a narcissistic fromunda stain"), the historical politicization of professional sports ("As recently as 1962 the NFL still had segregation, which was only done away with by brave athletes and coaches daring to speak their mind and do the right thing, and you're going to say that political views have 'no place in a sport'?"), and the fact that gays tying the knot will have little direct impact upon homophobes ("I can assure you that gay people getting married will have zero effect on your life... They won't magically turn you into a lustful cockmonster") as reasons Burns should reconsider his view.

Will the letter change Burns's mind? Probably not, but Kluwe's outspoken and humorous gay rights crusade is apparently persuading some Minnesotans to reconsider where they stand on same-sex marriage. Jeffrey Monaghan, a Minnesotan living near Lake Superior, sent the following tweet to Kluwe after reading the Burns letter: "@ChrisWarcraft dude...you changed my vote."

Pre-Occupied by Mural

Last week, Minneapolis's South High School unveiled a 1,700-square-foot mural designed and painted by students.

The mural is an impressive piece of work, especially considering it was painted by a bunch of high school students. But its subtle pro-Occupy message has drawn the ire of retiring Rep. John Kriesel (R-Cottage Grove), who tweeted over the weekend that "Political views should not be forced on kids" at a public school.

On Saturday, Kriesel — a decorated war veteran who is probably the state's most outspoken pro-gay-marriage Republican — tweeted a link to the KSTP report, along with a bit of commentary: "This sets a pretty crappy example for kids. Keep political views out of schools."

During an exchange with a liberal follower, Kriesel asked, "Would you see something wrong with it if it were a Tea Party mural on a school wall?"

"For the record, I'd be just as against the school mural if it were a Republican view on it," he continued. "Political views should not be forced on kids."

But South art teacher Denny Sponsler said he wasn't interested in steering the mural's student-developed political theme in a neutral direction.

"We weren't trying to be overtly political but I also really didn't believe that it would be good at all to stifle where this kind of exploration would go," Sponsler told KSTP.

Choke Cop

A new video posted to YouTube shows Minneapolis police officer Blayne Lehner choking and pepper-spraying protestors and arresting a seemingly peaceful journalist for no apparent reason.

The video also identifies Lehner as the officer who manhandled KSTP cameraman Chad Nelson during a downtown Occupy protest last April, breaking Nelson's camera and allegedly injuring his neck and shoulder.

In the days following the KSTP cameraman incident, Police Chief Tim Dolan said the MPD's Internal Affairs Unit would be investigating. Reached for comment last week, police spokesman Sgt. William Palmer said the internal investigation is still ongoing and that no disciplinary action had yet been taken. Palmer said such investigations routinely take nine months to a year to complete.

Dolan called Nelson in April to personally apologize for the manhandling, but the KSTP cameraman said he planned to file a criminal complaint against Officer Lehner anyway. Palmer said last week that he isn't able to answer questions about the the case because the employee overseeing the pertinent file wasn't available, but added that the MPD would be able to provide more information this week.

 
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