The Baltimore Ravens don’t play again until Sunday but linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo is already celebrating a victory.
On Tuesday, Maryland voters chose to uphold the state’s same-sex marriage law – a law Ayanbadejo has publicly supported. He has received both praise and criticism for doing so.
“I think Marylanders got it right and I was elated that Maryland got it right,” Ayanbadejo said after finding out the law had been upheld. “It just says a lot about the people in Maryland and what they believe in.”
Ayanbadejo knows he has had a positive impact on people’s opinions on same-sex marriage but deflected any praise back to those who voted to uphold the law.
“To know that I contributed to such an important issue and I’m going to help affect so many lives for the better, it really does feel good,” he said. “I can’t take all the credit, I’ve got to give credit to the Marylanders that went out there and did the right thing.”
Ayanbadejo’s on-field contributions have been enough to afford him the opportunity to play in three Pro Bowls and in the Super Bowl; however, this has been his biggest off-field contribution.
“This one probably takes the cake just because of the sheer amount of people it’s going to affect,” Ayanbadejo said. “With this, I’m actually helping the whole state, people I’ve never met, people I’ll never meet and families I’ll never get to physically touch, but I’ll get to touch them in another way.”
In the Ravens’ locker room, Ayanbadejo didn’t have the support of all of his teammates, specifically Matt Birk. In October, Birk filmed a video segment urging residents of his home state of Minnesota to vote against same-sex marriage – largely due to his religious beliefs.
Even though they differ in opinion, Ayanbadejo hasn’t let Birk’s stance get in the way of their shared goal of winning a Super Bowl.
“[Matt Birk and I] haven’t really talked about it,” said Ayanbadejo, who claimed there to be a difference of opinions versus facts when it comes to discussions with Birk.
“Equality is not an opinion, equality is something that everybody deserves and is a right everybody should have,” he said before using the the Question 7 topic of voting for expanded casinos as an example.
“If casinos are good or bad for a community, that might be an opinion, but when it comes to equality, it’s not about an opinion – it’s about treating everybody right.”
Birk was sought for comment but was not available in the Ravens locker room at the time the interview for Ayanbadejo was conducted.
In Minnesota, voters also sided with Ayanbadejo, rejecting a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.