By Trudy Ring
Originally published on Advocate.com December 19 2013 9:10 PM ET
Ken Hutcherson, a pro football player turned minister who was one of the leading opponents of marriage equality in Washington State, died Wednesday at age 61.
Hutcherson had suffered from prostate cancer for more than a decade, The Seattle Times reports.
He played for the Dallas Cowboys, San Diego Chargers, and Seattle Seahawks in the 1970s, and he retired in 1977 due to a knee injury. He cofounded Antioch Bible Church in Kirkland, Wash., in 1984 and became its senior pastor the following year, according to the church’s website.
Hutcherson championed racial equality as leader of an ethnically diverse congregation, but he was adamantly opposed to marriage equality and LGBT rights in general. He circulated petitions to repeal LGBT-inclusive antidiscrimination laws, and in 2004 and 2005 he organized “Mayday for Marriage” rallies in Seattle, the state capital of Olympia, and Washington, D.C., to encourage resistance to marriage rights for same-sex couples.
Marriage equality won the day in Washington State, however. The legislature passed a bill approving equal marriage rights in 2012, and it was upheld by voters in that year’s election. The state had offered domestic partnerships to same-sex couples since 2007.