How a Football Star Took Over the Gay Marriage Debate

Former Giants receiver, New Jersey resident David Tyree will deliver an anti-gay marriage petition

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Opponents of gay marriage are attempting to bring some star power to the senate floor on Monday afternoon. Former New York Giants wide receiver David Tyree will reportedly deliver a petition of 60,000 signatures in opposition to the same-sex marriage bill being debated in the state capitol on the last scheduled day of the legislative session. Tyree said in an interview with the local cable television network, Your News Now, "Once you allow something like same-sex marriage, it opens up the door for a continual softening of our backbone of our society, which will eventually, for generations to come open up the door for who knows, polygamy and all other types of the sorts…"

One has to wonder: what in the world does a retired football player have to do with about marriage rights? As Celeste Katz, a politics blogger at the New York Post, is quick to point out, Tyree cites God's will in arguing against gay marriage and inserts himself into the conversation to insinuate he has a higher calling. "Perhaps God orchestrated that play to give me a platform for what I'm doing here today," said Tyree of his Super Bowl catch. While connecting a Super Bowl play and civil rights is a stretch a best, Katz reminds us of a fact certainly more relevant to Tyree's presence in Albany today. "Tyree also dismissed criticism from gay marriage advocates that he lacks standing on the issue in New York because is a lifelong New Jersey resident," writes Katz.

According to the New York Daily News, Tyree even said that he would trade in his Super Bowl championship for a defeat of same-sex marriage, if he could. Tyree is credited with winning the game for the Giants with a last minute catch. Reports the Daily News:

The catch was a gift, it's not like I'd try to do it. I couldn't do it again so that was a miracle," he said. "There's nothing worth more than [maintaining heterosexual marriage] right here for me."

Asked if he'd give up the Super Bowl to stop gay marriage, Tyree said: "Honestly, I probably would."

"Nothing means more to me than that my God would be honored," he said. "Being the fact that I firmly believe that God created and ordained marriage between a man and a woman, I believe that that's something that should be fought for at all costs."

"So I'll lay down everything I am to preserve the honor and integrity of the God that I serve."

Tyree's presence impressed at least one Republican senator. City Hall News tweeted the above photo of Senator Joe Robach of Rochester posing for a photo with Tyreee.

Meanwhile, proponents of the measure nationwide continue to show their support for the passage of the same-sex marriage bill, which is only one vote shy of senate approval. In a staff op-ed column, The Baltimore Sun looks to Washington for better direction, citing a New York Times article last week showing that President Obama--who says his views on gay marriage are "evolving"-- could influence the stalemate. We're quoting at length to provide full context:

The president's advocacy would also likely have no effect on national law; he already opposes the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex unions from states that allow them. The president's advocacy isn't going to get a repeal through the Republican-controlled House of Representatives or past a filibuster in the Senate. But Mr. Obama's full support for marriage equality — and, perhaps most importantly, an explanation of how he has wrestled with the issue — could have a significant effect on the state level, and in particular on the debate in Maryland. Gay marriage passed Maryland's state Senate this year but came up just short in the House of Delegates, in no small part because of the opposition of African-American churches.

The reluctance of many African-Americans, particularly in the religious community, to see the issue as a continuation of the civil rights struggle has been puzzling and disappointing for gay rights advocates. Particularly painful is the question of whether the surge in black turnout for Mr. Obama in 2008 contributed to the passage in 2008 of California's Proposition 8, which struck down gay marriage there. […]

As of this afternoon, gay marriage is within a vote or two of passing in New York, thanks to a handful of Republican senators who have defied threats from their party's conservative base to announce their support for the measure. If gay marriage is to pass in Maryland, a handful of African-American delegates will likely have to do the same thing. That would be much easier if, in doing so, they were standing shoulder-to-shoulder with President Obama.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.