VIDEO: Super Bowl champion Brendon Ayanbadejo supports the freedom to marry

Last night, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo became a Super Bowl champion when his team triumphed over the San Francisco 49ers in the annual championship NFL game. He used his national spotlight to shine a light on why marriage matters to same-sex couples. 

Ayanbadejo has been a vocal supporter of the freedom to marry since September, when he lent his voice to the victorious Vote for 6 campaign with Marylanders for Marriage Equality, which worked to uphold a law that ended the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage across the state of Maryland. 

After the big win last night, he spoke with Def Jam founder and hip-hop icon Russell Simmons about why he's stood up for the freedom to marry. Brendon, who is raising two children with his longtime girlfriend, explained that although he is not personally affected by anti-gay laws, they further a negative history of unfair treatment against people in the United States. He said:

Being a '70s baby and growing up in the '80s and '90s, I witnessed firsthand the rise of the African-American community into mainstream America. All of a sudden when I was in junior high school and going into high school, black was the cool thing to be. Everybody wanted to be black and embrace black people. Prior to that in the '60s, my parents would not have been allowed to get married due to interracial marriage laws and today this issue is relevant once again, however, it's not about race. It is about sexual orientation and whom you choose to love, which is no different than a black person loving a white person. Same sex couples should legally marry whomever they fall in love with. So the same plight for equality that affected me in the '60s is relevant again today, it doesn't affect me this time, but it will affect people I love and care about. This isn't a fight for gay rights, this is a fight for human rights. 

Brendon also appeared in a new video for the Respect for Marriage Coalition, where he asked viewers to "join me and the majority of Americans who support marriage equality" because "it's the right thing to do."

Watch the video HERE: