ST. PAUL, MN, October 3, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Debate in Minnesota on protecting traditional marriage is heating up as the November 6th vote to amend the constitution to affirm marriage as the union of one man and one woman looms and a court case to redefine marriage is underway.  In the wake of Ravens’ linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo and Vikings punter Chris Kluwe stumping for gay ‘marriage’, one of their teammates, the top dog in the NFL for 2012, has taken up a public defense of the family.

In a new online video launched by the Minnesota Catholic Conference (MCC), NFL all-pro Matt Birk discusses his belief in marriage as between a man and a woman, and its importance as a cornerstone social institution.

Birk, the 2012 NFL Man of the Year, Minnesota native, and practicing Catholic, also talks about the importance of both mothers and fathers for children, the pending court case in Minnesota’s Hennepin County to redefine marriage, and his personal reasons for deciding to speak publicly on the issue of marriage redefinition.

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The video launch comes on the heels of a September 30 Star Tribune editorial penned by Birk about the Minnesota Marriage Protection Amendment and the recent conversation about “gay marriage” in the National Football League.

“My hope is that, by adding my voice to this discussion, I encourage the majority of Americans who do agree that it’s not the state’s place to redefine marriage to speak up with truth and respect,” said Birk. “Bonding one man and one woman together through marriage helps connect both moms and dads to their kids; that’s why the state cares about marriage in the first place. Society should always be looking for ways to strengthen marriage, rather than redefine it.”

In the video, Birk notes that recognizing the authentic human rights for people with same-sex attraction and supporting the traditional definition of marriage is not in conflict. His comment echoes the position of the Catholic Church in Minnesota, which has been a vocal supporter of the amendment while continuing to emphasize that all individuals should have access to basic rights like visiting loved ones in the hospital, rights to pass on property, and fair access to housing, education and work - rights that already exist in Minnesota.

The Minnesota Hennepin County District Court case mentioned in the video is Benson v. Chapin, a case currently under proceedings that is seen as a vehicle of the courts to impose same-sex marriage, similar to what Iowa Supreme Court judges did in the 2009 Varnum v. Brien case.

“We are thankful to have someone like Matt Birk, who is a role model on and off the field, take a public stand on an issue that has such far-reaching social consequences,” said MCC executive director Jason Adkins. “We expect Catholics and non-Catholics alike will take notice.”

As for Birk, he says, “I expect some people will misinterpret what I have to say, or make false accusations about me, but this issue is far too important for me to remain silent. It’s not intolerant to understand that certain social institutions have boundaries for a purpose, and that marriage between one woman and one man serve a unique and irreplaceable role in society.”