Alveda King Denounces NAACP’s Endorsement of Marriage Equality
May 24th, 2012
Alveda King, the niece of Martin Luther King, Jr. (and she will tell you that she’s “uncle M.L.’s” niece at every opportunity), lashed out at the NAACP’s resolution supporting marriage equality for LGBT citizens. King not only dragged her uncle into her outrage, but decided to go after the memories of Coretta Scott King and Bayard Rustin as well:
The 21st century homosexual lobby likes to point to the professional relationship between my uncle Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bayard Rustin, his openly homosexual staffer who left the movement at the height of the campaign. Rustin attempted to convince Uncle M. L. that homosexual rights were equal with civil rights. Uncle M. L. did not agree, and would not attach the homosexual agenda to the 20th century civil rights struggles. So Mr. Rustin resigned. He was a brilliant strategist and was hired by Uncle M. L. not because he was gay, but because he was a capable strategist. He also was not fired, he chose to resign. My uncle was not a bigot, and he didn’t judge people for the color of their skin nor their sexual orientation. Neither do I. As compassionate Christians who won’t be forced to sit on the back of the bus as far as our spiritual commitments are concerned, we can be compassionate without endorsing sin.
As to the relationship between Mrs. Coretta Scott King and the homosexual lobby, Mrs. King was a very compassionate woman. She and I shared conversations regarding misplaced compassion. When her daughter, my cousin Elder Bernice King marched in favor of traditional marriage a few years ago, the homosexual lobby demanded that Mrs. King publicly rebuke her daughter for her stance. Mrs. King did not rebuke her daughter. The issue here is compassion, and how to show compassion in the face of controversy.
Mrs. Coretta Scott King may not have publicly rebuked her own daughter, but she did support LGBT equality, including marriage equality. As early as 1998, Mrs. King drew a direct line between the homophobia experienced by the gay community and racism (as well as anti-Semitism):
Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood”, she stated. “This sets the stage for further repression and violence that spread all too easily to victimize the next minority group.”
In 2000, at a National Gay and Lesbian Task Force conference, Mrs. King linked the struggle for LGBT rights to the civil rights movement:
I say “common struggle” because I believe very strongly that all forms of bigotry and discrimination are equally wrong and should be opposed by right-thinking Americans everywhere. Freedom from discrimination based on sexual orientation is surely a fundamental human right in any great democracy, as much as freedom from racial, religious, gender, or ethnic discrimination.
My husband, Martin Luther King Jr., once said, “We are all tied together in a single garment of destiny… an inescapable network of mutuality,… I can never be what I ought to be until you are allowed to be what you ought to be.” Therefore, I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream to make room at the table of brotherhood and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people.
And in 2004, she added her voice to those supporting marriage equality:
“Gay and lesbian people have families, and their families should have legal protection, whether by marriage or civil union,” she said. “A constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages is a form of gay bashing and it would do nothing at all to protect traditional marriages.”
As for Bayard Rustin’s leaving the civil rights movement, Alvin McEwen corrects the record:
According to several sources, most specifically the excellent book Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin by John D’Emilio, Rustin resigned because prominent black leaders, specifically the late Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, had gotten jealous of King’s influence and were going to accuse him and the openly gay Rustin of being lovers.
It was some of these same leaders who did not want Rustin to have anything to do with the 1963 March on Washington, but labor leader A. Philip Randolph insisted that Rustin be involved. And as you SHOULD know, this was a good move because Rustin was the architect of that successful march.
Furthermore Rustin began speaking about gay issues in the 1980s at the behest of his partner, Walter Naegle. This was over two decades after MLK’s death.
Ms. King, you like to talk about the so-called sin of homosexuality, but let me remind you that the Bible also says something against bearing false witness.