Is Gay Marriage A Civil Rights Issue?
Martin Luther King's Niece Doesn't Think So
August 10, 2010
by Charing Ball
I always wondered what Martin Luther King Jr. would have thought
about the fight to legalize same-sex marriages?
Many liberals and left leaning activist might argue that the famed
civil rights leader would have been front and center opposing the
recent attempts to ban same-sex marriages, viewing today's battle as
an extension of the civil rights movement. However, in all respects,
King Jr. was very conservative in his beliefs and while he fought
bravely against race and gender discrimination and oppression,
nowhere in his writings did he mentioned explicitly his stances on
whether or not gay rights were a matter of civil rights. Surely gay
rights had to be as much as an issue in the 60s as they are today.
And while we'll never know the answer to King's stance for sure, we
do know that the King family itself has been split for years over the
idea of gay rights, particularly same-sex marriage, and whether the
civil rights leader would have championed the cause of the full
acceptance and equality of access for GLBT persons.
Back in 2005, King's youngest daughter, Bernice King, publicly
organized support for the proposed George W. Bush constitutional
amendment to ban same-sex marriage even as Coretta Scott King, widow
of Martin and mother to Bernice, made a point to call gay marriage a
civil rights issue.
And just yesterday, a video of Alveda King, the conservative activist
niece of Martin Luther King Jr., surfaced of her speaking at the
National Organization for Marriage rally in Atlanta this weekend, in
which she had not only equated gay marriage to a genocide but also
stated that "marriage between one man and one woman remains the guard
against human extinction."
In an interview after the rally in which a teary-eyed interviewer
asked Alveda whether or not Coretta's views on gay marriage would
have mimicked that of the late King Jr., Alveda remarked that her
views come from God and the natural law and that "She (Coretta) was
married to him (Martin Luther King, Jr.). I've got his DNA. She
doesn't. She didn't. She's passed."
Does anyone else note the irony of Alveda, a divorcee herself,
critical of Coretta for "only being married" to MLK Jr., while
campaigning for the sanctity of marriage? Bad blood and twisted logic
aside, as dysfunctional as the King family may seem on the issue, so
goes the African American community as a whole.
According to a recent survey on gay marriage in California, conducted
just a couple of weeks before the high courts had overturned the
Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage, 60 percent of African Americans
responders did not believe that gay marriage should be legal. This
sentiment is probably representative of African Americans as a whole
including President Obama, who may have opposed Proposition 8 on the
merit of discrimination but has gone on record to say that he does
not support gay marriage, in general.
Part of this paradox really comes down to what in many black folks'
minds is viewed as morally true and that is homosexuality is wrong
and marriage is between a man and a woman. This persistent morality
is deep-seated in not only the Christianity but other religious
institutions frequented by the black community. As stated by Bishop
Harry R. Jackson Jr., Chairman of the High Impact Leadership
Coalition, in a recent op-ed for CNN, "It is not bigotry, it is
biology that discriminates between same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples."
He also argues that same-sex marriage would not only threaten the
sanctity of traditional marriage but would also condemn those who
believe otherwise of being "akin to the racists of history, who
opposed interracial marriage and supported slavery."
While the Bishop is correct in that two people of opposite sex are
needed for procreation purposes (that is until science has perfected
a way to do so otherwise), he would be hard-pressed to explain how
that particular belief has been parallel to our collective reality,
in particular why the Black community is mostly headed by single
parent households and the divorce rate amongst African Americans is
almost double that of our white counterparts. That point can't be
attributed to the push for equality for the gay community.
And while I am vehemently opposed to the likening of gay rights to
the civil rights movement as I believe there has never been an effort
to create a subordinate class subject to exploitation based on sexual
orientation, I certainly would not deny any person, regardless of
sexual orientation, the human dignity and the right to live as they are.
The fight for parity for the GLBT community is a fight to be free
from discrimination, which should be considered a universal
entitlement that has been allotted through citizenship by various
laws and the U.S. Constitution. And while Bishop Jackson, Alveda King
and many others may be guided by their religion and moral beliefs,
thankfully we live in a country that also supports the idea of the
separation of church and state as well as equal rights for all.
Open Letter to Dr. Alveda King from a Black LGBT Rights Activist:
"Injustice Anywhere is Injustice Everywhere!"
by C.D. Kirven
C.D. Kirven is a parent, an LGBT-Activist, lesbian, and Black. She
wrote this open letter in order to request a one-on-one private
meeting with Dr. Avelda King, the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Dr. Avelda King spoke in support of the National Organization for
Marriage's bigotry and hatred at a rally in Atlanta.
Dear Dr. King:
Good afternoon! I urge you to denounce the National Organization for
Marriage's relentless obsession to derail the LGBT community's
efforts to obtain civil protections for their children and families.
Please understand the same people that requested your presence at
their anti-gay rally are some of the same people that fought against
a holiday in the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s tremendous
work for human rights. Please lift the secular veil used to disguise
blatant bigotry from a group twisting God's biblical message of love
into monstrous hatemongering.
For me, your comments on Saturday at the National Organization for
Marriage's anti-gay rally were very painful to me as a person and as
a parent. It was reported that you stated: "Supporting gay marriage
will lead to genocide and the extinction of the human race" and this
comment has no sound civil or social foundation. But, your comments
do assist in furthering the objective of second class citizenship for
LGBT Americans and assist with the persecution LGBT citizens in a
culture war waged against my community by groups like the National
Organization for Marriage. You can't defend marriage from love but
you can use marriage restrictions as a tool to spread hate.
Unfortunately, this type of prejudicial endeavor has had tragic
consequences on my community that include high LGBT teen suicide or
vicious hate crimes. The National Organization for Marriage's use of
your lineage as a weapon in their oppression arsenal to set back
civil gains made by the queer community in our pursuit for marriage
equality is truly disheartening. Your aunt and uncle were apostles of
peace and were aware of the spiritual connection required in
denouncing hateful rhetoric used to publicly degrade a minority group
in order to further a devout political agenda. I must say I'm
heartbroken by your words and cut deeply by your association with
this mean spirited group. Humanity is bound to love and inhumanity is
chained to hate. The truth carries the power to determine the
difference between a federally protected personal belief and unjust
mandate of law.
In the words of your uncle, who has inspired my efforts as an activist:
"I never intend to adjust myself to the viciousness of mob rule. It
may be that the salvation of the world lies in the hands of the
proclaimed maladjusted in the midst of injustice proclaim; Let
judgment run down like river waters and righteous like a mighty
stream. As maladjusted as President Lincoln, who envisioned a nation
with no separation of those living freely and those who are
oppressed. That all men are created equal, and are endowed by their
creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life,
Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."
In the words of Jesus Christ; "Love your enemies, bless them that
curse you and do good to those who hate you and pray for them that
despitefully use you." N.O.M. is using your family's name in a
horribly painful way and members of your family were known to
actively fight against discrimination of the LGBT community. N.O.M.'s
requesting your attendance was a transparent effort to weigh down the
LGBT civil rights movement. My community's struggle is a civil rights
pursuit because anytime a country allows a majority to use the law to
oppress a minority then that is a matter of civil liberty. Our
struggle is the same struggle faced by African Americans during the
civil rights movement. Loving vs. Virginia made interracial marriage
legal and in that case the bible was used as a tool to bend the law
to further discriminate against the African American community. The
bible is being used in that same way to oppress my community now.
My plea is that you give me an opportunity to change your heart and
open your mind to our plight. You have a rare opportunity to right a
wrong and I pray to God that you will take it. As an African American
you understand the ugliness of hate and the pain of discrimination.
This is not a battle of heterosexual against homosexual, but a
struggle of justice against injustice.
Thank you for your time and I look forward to our discussion!
C.D. Kirven, Co-founder of Get Equal Now
MLK's Niece: Gay Marriage Is "Genocide"
by Naima Ramos-Chapman
August 10 2010
Alveda King, niece of legendary civil rights activist Rev. Martin
Luther King Jr., went on a anti-gay rant recently when she spoke at a
rally hosted by the National Organization of Marriage. In short, she
compares same-sex marriage to "genocide."
Blogger Rod McCullom transcribes parts of the speech at Rod 2.0:
It's been statistically proven that … [marriage] guarantees the
continuity of the generations. We don't want genocide, we don't want
to destroy the sacred institution of marriage.
The best guard against extinction is marriage between one man and
one woman raising those children. Statistics keep proving that when a
male father and a female mother come together and they make a baby
and raise the children, the children actually do better. They do
better than families that are divorced, and I know that first hand.
How King came to the conclusion that allowing gays to marry would
somehow affect the human population to the point of extinction is
mind-boggling to say the least, but as McCollum points out, where
she lacks factual credibility is when she sadly tries to recoup with
her familial ties to Dr. King:
King also rejected MLK's widow's famous support for gay rights and
marriage equality, saying that she "shared" Dr. King's "DNA" and
Coretta Scott King was "only related … through marriage." Alveda King
also refused to answer what she thought "would happen if white people
were allowed to vote" on civil rights in the 1950s and 1960s. Alveda
Kingwho has had two abortions and admits to being "the first in the
King family to have a divorce"has previously said "everybody uses
Martin Luther King Jr.'s name for their own benefit." Truer words
were never spoken.
King only proves too well that the apple can fall way, way far from
the tree. So although King may benefit from having that famous last
name, she has certainly lost some of the Civil Rights leader's most