Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo has long been a proponent of same-sex marriage, and he penned an op-ed piece on the hot-button issue for The Huffington Post two years ago.
With the battle to recognize same-sex marriages continuing here in Maryland, Equality Maryland released a video of Ayanbadejo encouraging Marylanders to join him "in the land of the brave for standing on the side of love."
Here is the transcription of the video, which is embedded below:
"Hello. My name is Brendon Ayanbadejo. I’m a linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens. And I’m proud to be a part of something that brings Marylanders together. Another issue that should unite Marylanders that I’m quite proud about is love and marriage. And right now, an important issue in our state is whether or not to allow gay and lesbian couples who love each other to marry.
"Gay and lesbian couples want to marry for similar reasons as we all do: love and commitment. It’s time to allow them the opportunity to build a family through marriage. It’s a matter of fairness. This is why I’m asking Marylanders to join me in supporting marriage equality for same-sex couples.
"Having the freedom to marry means committed couples and their children will have the same crucial protections under the law as other families. Churches can always have their beliefs, but government is supposed to treat everybody the same, and that’s equal. America is supposed to be the land of the free but in order for this to be true for all of us, then we must have the ability to marry whom we love regardless of their gender.
"Think about it, and join me in the land of the brave for standing on the side of love. Thank you."
Update: Here's a statement from Morgan Meneses-Sheets, Equality Maryland's executive director:
"We commend Brendon Ayanbadejo for his courageous stand for fairness," Meneses-Sheets said. "Marriage strengthens couples and families, who in turn help strengthen their communities, one at a time -- leading to a stronger, more robust nation. We will reach a time in this country when we value and protect all families equally. We are proud to have heroes like Brendon by our side in this struggle."