Ken Hutcherson, pastor of Antioch Bible Church, right, testifies against proposed legislation that would legalize gay marriage in Washington state, Monday, Jan. 23, 2012, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash., during a Senate committee hearing. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Kirkland pastor Ken Hutcherson dies

A prominent Kirkland pastor and former Seahawks linebacker who gained national attention for his outspoken opposition to gay rights has died.

Ken Hutcherson, 61, died shortly before noon Wednesday, according to Antioch Bible Church.

Hutcherson was one of the Seattle area's most vocal and visible opponents of gay rights and was a leading critic of the effort to legalize same-sex marriage.

While beloved by his congregation, many hated the pastor for his stand on homosexuality.

Hutcherson was diagnosed with prostate cancer 13 years ago, but only slowed in recent months.

In 2005, Hutcherson led an effort to block legislation for an anti-discrimination bill that would have made it illegal to fire someone based on sexual orientation.

He successfully pressed Microsoft to drop its support of the bill, citing the hundreds of evangelical employees who opposed it. The company eventually changed its mind again and supported the bill, which passed.

Hutcherson was born and raised in Alabama during the era of segregation. He was an exceptional athlete and student who made it to the National Football League, playing for the Dallas Cowboys and San Diego Chargers before ultimately finishing his football career with the Seahawks.

He co-founded Antioch following his football days.

Josh Kerns,
Josh Kerns is an award winning reporter/anchor and host of KIRO Radio's Seattle Sounds (Sunday afternoons 5-6p) and a digital content producer for
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