Colts coach Tony Dungy said he knows some people would prefer him to steer clear of the gay marriage debate, but he used a speech Tuesday night to clearly stake out his position.
Dungy told more than 700 people at the Indiana Family Institute’s banquet that he agrees with that organization’s position supporting a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between one man and one woman.
“I appreciate the stance they’re taking, and I embrace that stance,” Dungy said.
Dungy’s comments came in the final three minutes of a wide-ranging, 20-minute speech that recounted stories from the Colts’ Super Bowl run, related his interest in prison ministry and described how he wondered whether his firing in Tampa was God’s signal for him to leave football and enter ministry. He also talked about his efforts to make the Colts more family-friendly by encouraging players to bring their kids to practice.
Local and national gay-rights organizations had criticized Dungy for accepting the invitation to appear at the banquet. The institute, affiliated with Focus on the Family, has been one of the leading supporters of the marriage amendment.
“IFI is saying what the Lord says,” Dungy said. “You can take that and make your decision on which way you want to be. I’m on the Lord’s side.”
The coach said his comments shouldn’t be taken as gay bashing, but rather his views on the matter as he sees them from a perspective of faith.
“We’re not anti- anything else. We’re not trying to downgrade anyone else. But we’re trying to promote the family — family values the Lord’s way,” Dungy said.
Previous IFI banquets had drawn at most 440 guests, according to organizers. But the appearance of the Super Bowl-winning coach to receive the institute’s “Friend of the Family” award set a record.
Sorry, Tony – this is gay bashing. Basically the textbook definition of it. And even if you’re are claiming to only be concerned with the marriage issue – Indiana Family Institute is not just concerned with that. They say they are, but they have written and supported legislation in the past that went far beyond concerns about marriage. IFI was responsible for a draft of state legislation proposing to quarantine gay men and lesbians in camps to ‘protect against HIV and AIDS’ in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Note, they weren’t talking about rounding up just people who had AIDS (although that legislation DID get passed) – they wanted to pull in all groups they considered ‘at risk’ and they felt all gay men and lesbians fit that category. Yeah… logic escaped them. This draft of the bill was quickly suppressed, but not before a copy of it made its way to the gay community by alarmed folks who read it.
This is the group that Tony Dungy is raising money for.