Tough guys stand up for gay marriage

Tough guys can and do support gay marriage. Are you tough enough to support gay marriage?

Macho?(m??cho): a man who is aggressively proud of his masculinity (see also: football players, gunslingers, rappers).

Heard the latest among the straight, tough-guy set?

Two NFL players have filed?a brief?before the U.S. Supreme Court in support of gay marriage. Paul Wolfowitz, the neocon defense hawk from the George W. Bush administration,?signed on to another. In the testosterone-roiled world of hip-hop, macho men from Jay-Z to 50 Cent had the back of crooner Frank Ocean after he posted an?open letter?about his sexuality.?

In the top sports leagues and conservative circles, the announcements of support for gay rights have been increasing ? and increasingly bold. More are coming as the Supreme Court?prepares next week?to fully examine same-sex marriage for the first time. The?two NFL players?? Baltimore Raven Brendon Ayanbadejo and Minnesota Viking Chris Kluwe ? have long been on the team of those supporting gay rights and filed a brief with the high court urging the justices to upend California?s 2008 voter-approved measure restricting marriage to one man and one woman. Locally, sports broadcaster?Brett Haber?this year joined with the group?Athlete Ally, started two years ago by former University of Maryland wrestler Hudson Taylor, to take a stand against homophobia in sports.

The move among straight guys in athletics and other ultra-manly arenas is reflective of a?national trend?that shows the majority of Americans support marriage rights for same-sex couples. But it is also indicative of the place of the ?tough guy? in society, said sociologist Michael Kimmel, who directs the Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

?They do the right thing even if nobody else supports them,? Kimmel said. ?A tough guy also always stands up for the little guy. The tough guy isn?t a bully. The tough guy is righteous. Part of being a tough guy is standing up for the underdog ? so I see it as perfectly consistent.?

Consistent, maybe. But rare, still.