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Human Rights

May 2013


Selma and Stonewall: What Ties Civil Rights to Gay Rights?

Reaction to President Obama's Inauguration Speech

The New Civil Rights Movement
America's Last Major Civil Rights Movement

Where Would MLK Have Stood on Marriage Equality?


Standing Up For Equality


"People fail to get along with each other because they fear each other. They fear each other because they don’t know each other. They don’t know each other because they have not properly communicated with each other."
Martin Luther King Jr


"I've always felt that homophobic attitudes and policies were unjust and unworthy of a free society and must be opposed by all Americans who believe in democracy. The civil rights movement thrives on unity and inclusion, not division and exclusion. My husband's struggle parallels that of the gay rights movement."
-Coretta Scott King


"Courage comes when an interracial couple connects to a gay couple who has been discriminated against, and understands it as their own."

-President Barack Obama


"The humanity of all Americans is diminished when any group is denied rights granted to others."

-Julian Bond


"All of us who are openly gay are living and writing the history of our movement. We are no more - and no less - heroic than the suffragists and abolitionists of the 19th century; and the labor organizers, Freedom Riders, Stonewall demonstrators, and environmentalists of the 20th century."

-Senator Tammy Baldwin


“When all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free.”

-President Barack Obama


NAACP Support for Marriage Equality

May 2012


One of the nation's most influential civil rights organizations, The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), declared support for civil marriage rights for same-sex couples.

With its support for gay marriage, the 103 year old NAACP has done more than strike a blow for fairness and equality, writes Eugene Robinson. The nation's most venerable civil-rights organization has now made itself relevant again.


The NAACP's 64-member board released a statement that "civil marriage is a civil right and a matter of civil law" and citing the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution as a reason for backing marriage equality.

"The mission of the NAACP has always been to ensure the political, social and economic equality of all people," said Roslyn M. Brock, chairman of the NAACP's board of directors. "We have and will always oppose efforts to codify discrimination into law."

"The NAACP's support for marriage equality is deeply rooted in the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution and equal protection of all people," said Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP.


NAACP President Benjamin Jealous said he hopes the group's resolution supporting same-sex marriage will encourage blacks to support marriage equality as a civil right if the question is put to voters on the ballot in Maryland or other states.

The civil rights group's resolution was significant, as only 39 percent of blacks favor gay marriage, compared with 47 percent of white Americans, according to a Pew poll conducted in April. Much of the opposition stems from churches, which have long been important institutions in the black community.

"I hope this will be a game-changer," Jealous told The Associated Press in an interview. "There is a game being played right now to enshrine discrimination into state constitutions across the country, and if we can change that game and help ensure that our country's more recent tradition of using federal and state constitutions to expand rights continues, we will be very proud of our work."

The announcement from the civil rights organization arrived on the heels of President Obama's own recent statement in support of same-sex marriage in the US.

NAACP's statement on May 19, when paired with recent endorsements by President Obama and rapper Jay-Z could indicate that the tide in the black community is flowing in the direction of marriage equality.



ABC News: NAACP Board Votes to Support Same-Sex Marriage
Seattle Times: NAACP Returns to Relevance
NAACP Prez Calls Upon African Americans to Support Gay Marriage as a Civil Right
Boston Spirit: Local Reactions to NAACP Support of Gay Marriage
Fox News: NAACP Announces Support for Same Sex Marriage

Washington Post: Rapper Jay-Z Supports Prez Obama and Same Sex Marriage

Daily News: Jay-Z Weighs In on Obama's Gay Marriage Stance

Miami New Times: Blacks Support Gay Marriage


Gay Rights and Civil Rights

Selma and Stonewall: What Ties Civil Rights to Gay Rights?

Teaching Tolerance: Role of Gays & Lesbians in Civil Rights Movement

Julian Bond: Civil Rights and Gay Rights

The New Civil Rights Movement

NPR: African Americans Comparing Gay Rights and Civil Rights

Talking About LGBT Rights With African Americans

National Black Justice Coalition

America's Last Major Civil Rights Movement


Congressman John Lewis

June 2012


In an interview with Diane Rehm on National Public Radio, Congressman John Lewis, commented on LGBT rights.  Congressman John Lewis is that most rare of politicians. He draws the respect of every colleague on both sides of the partisan aisle. The recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Congressman Lewis has represented Georgia's Fifth Congressional District since 1986. In a new book titled "Across that Bridge," Congressman Lewis draws on lessons learned as a leader of the civil rights movement in the '60s, to inspire today's grass roots activists fighting for social, economic and political change.

He was asked about his "feelings regarding the African American community's overall opposition to gay marriage. By definition, gay rights are civil rights. I'm sure you remember the days when intermarriage between the races was a controversial issue."

Lewis responded:  "I take a position similar to a position that Martin Luther King, Jr. took many, many years ago, that races don't fall in love and get married. Individuals fall in love and get married. So if two men or two women fall in love and want to get married, they should be able to do just that. No government, state or federal, should tell people who they can fall in love with and get married or not."

"And I also take the position that I fought too long and too hard against discrimination based on race and color not to stand up and fight against discrimination based on sexual orientation. And I think many members of the African American community and a great majority would come to that point very soon for they will learn they will be -- embrace marriage equality. You cannot build a wall when it comes to equality. It must be equality for all and not just for some."

Lewis was asked: "What about the ministers of the African American church and their opposition? How does one bring them along? How do you see their conversion, if you will?"

His response:  "Well, I think it's important for those of us who support marriage equality to continue to talk with these ministers, continue to educate them, to inform them. I've long held this position and I attend a lot of churches in my district in Georgia. And not one minister ever said anything to me about my position. They all support me."



Diane Rehm Show: Interview With John Lewis

Civil Rights and Human Rights

"We are all tied together in a single garment of destiny. I can never be what I ought to be until you are allowed to be what you ought to be."
-Martin Luther King Jr.

January 15, 1929 - April 4, 1968

April 27, 1927 - January 30, 2006

Coretta Scott King: LGBT Ally


Anti-Gay Rhetoric From Sandy Rios:

"To compare rich, privileged homosexual lobby groups allied with transsexuals and sadomasochists to brave civil rights crusaders — who risked their lives to advance freedom — insults every black American who overcame real injustice and poverty. It’s time for the homosexual lobby to stop co-opting the black civil rights struggle. The [National Gay and Lesbian] Task Force’s agenda of promoting perversion — including public homosexual sex, sadomasochism and bisexuality — would offend the vast majority of African-Americans who understand the difference between God-designed racial distinctions and changeable, immoral behavior.”
-Sandy Rios / CWA President

Comments From Coretta Scott King:

"I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people and I should stick to the issue of racial justice. But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King Jr. said, 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.' I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream to make room at the table of brother- and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people."
-Coretta Scott King

"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. This sets the stage for further repression and violence that spread all too easily to victimize the next minority group."
-Coretta Scott King


"I've always felt that homophobic attitudes and policies were unjust and unworthy of a free society and must be opposed by all Americans who believe in democracy. Tthe civil rights movement thrives on unity and inclusion, not division and exclusion. My husband's struggle parallels that of the gay rights movement."
-Coretta Scott King

"For many years now, I have been an outspoken supporter of civil and human rights for gay and lesbian people. Gays and lesbians stood up for civil rights in Montgomery, Selma, in Albany, Ga. and St. Augustine, Fla., and many other campaigns of the Civil Rights Movement. Many of these courageous men and women were fighting for my freedom at a time when they could find few voices for their own, and I salute their contributions."
-Coretta Scott King

"We have a lot more work to do in our common struggle against bigotry and discrimination. 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."
-Coretta Scott King

"For too long, our nation has tolerated the insidious form of discrimination against this group of Americans, who have worked as hard as any other group, paid their taxes like everyone else, and yet have been denied equal protection under the law.... I believe that freedom and justice cannot be parceled out in pieces to suit political convenience. My husband, Martin Luther King, Jr. said, 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.' On another occasion he said, 'I have worked too long and hard against segregated public accommodations to end up segregating my moral concern. Justice is indivisible.' Like Martin, I don’t believe you can stand for freedom for one group of people and deny it to others. The great promise of American democracy is that no group of people will be forced to suffer discrimination and injustice."
-Coretta Scott King


Gay Rights and Civil Rights

Selma and Stonewall: What Ties Civil Rights to Gay Rights?

Teaching Tolerance: Role of Gays & Lesbians in Civil Rights Movement

ABC News: Are Gay Rights Civil Rights?

How Many African Americans are LGBT?

Julian Bond: Civil Rights and Gay Rights

Breakpoint: Gay Rights vs Civil Rights Not Even Close

NPR: African Americans Comparing Gay Rights and Civil Rights

US News: Justice Thomas Says There is No Link Between Gay Rights and Civil Rights

LGBT African American Stories

Leadership Conference: Civil Rights 101

Talking About LGBT Rights With African Americans

National Black Justice Coalition

Where Would MLK Have Stood on Marriage Equality?

Wikipedia: LGBT Social Movements


Civil Rights: Fighting Discrimination and Inequality

“When all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free.”

-US President Barack Obama


"All of us who are openly gay are living and writing the history of our movement. We are no more - and no less - heroic than the suffragists and abolitionists of the 19th century; and the labor organizers, Freedom Riders, Stonewall demonstrators, and environmentalists of the 20th century."

-Senator Tammy Baldwin


"Discrimination is discrimination no matter who the victim is, and it is always wrong. There are no special rights in America, despite the attempts by many to divide blacks and the gay community with the argument that the latter are seeking some imaginary special rights at the expense of blacks."
-Julian Bond


"Courage comes when an interracial couple connects to a gay couple who has been discriminated against, and understands it as their own."

-President Barack Obama


"Marriage is a civil right. If you don't want gay people to marry in your church, good for you. But you can't say they can't marry in your city."
-Julian Bond


"It is long past time to eliminate bigotry in the workplace and to ensure equal opportunity for all Americans.  It is time to make clear that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans are first class citizens.  They are full and welcome members of our American family and they deserve the same civil rights protections as all other Americans.  It is time for us to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Such discrimination is wrong and should not be tolerated."

-Senator Tom Harkin


"While many minority groups are the target for prejudice... and discrimination... in our society, few persons face this hostility without the support and acceptance of their family as do many gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth."

-Virginia Uribe and Karen Harbeck


"The people who would forbid gays from marrying in the country are those who would have made Rosa Parks sit in the back of the bus.”
-Jason West / Mayor of New Paltz, NY


"There's this big debate that goes on in America about what rights are: Civil rights, human rights, what they are? it's an artificial debate. Because everybody has rights. Everybody has rights - I don't care who you are, what you do, where you come from, how you were born, what your race or creed or color is. You have rights. Everybody's got rights."
-Julian Bond


"Lesbians of color should be visible as possible. We are a part of the movement and are sometimes invisible."
-Banda Goddard, marcher at gay rally


"At the end of the day it doesn’t matter which group is most oppressed or whether they are identically oppressed, what matters is that no group be oppressed.”
-Keith Boykin / President of The National Black Justice Coalition


"I didn't choose to be black or to be born female, however I am quite proud and happy to be both. I don't believe that people choose their sexual preference, and they have every right to be proud and enjoy their sexuality. You all may not think it's the same type of thing, but from where I stand and what I see discrimination and oppression feels and looks just as ugly. Now, let's move on."

-Julia Boyd


"My struggle has allowed me to transcend that sense of shame and stigma identified with my being a black gay man. Having come through the fire, they can't touch me."

-Marlon Riggs


"If your Bible tells you that gay people ought not be married in your church, don't tell them they can't be married at city hall. Marriage is a civil rite as well a civil right, and we can't let religious bigotry close the door to justice to anyone."
-Julian Bond

"I am in the valley of prayer on the issue of gay marriage, and I will err on the side of inclusiveness and not exclusion. I’m going to follow Jesus and say, Whosoever will, let them come. And I’m going to extend rights to all of God’s children and if I am wrong, God will have to judge me."
-Rev. Joseph Lowery / Founder of Southern Christian Leadership Conference

Human Rights and Civil Rights Defined


Have you ever wondered what the difference was between a human right and a civil right? After all, if some Americans had to fight to obtain civil rights as recently as the late 20th Century, what are all of these human rights we and other nations are enforcing in other countries through military action? Is there a difference between the two terms?

In simplest terms, the difference between a human and civil right is why you have them. Human rights arise simply by being a human being. Civil rights, on the other hand, arise only by virtue of a legal grant of that right, such as the rights imparted on American citizens by the U.S. Constitution.

Human Rights

Human rights are generally thought of as the most fundamental rights. They include the right to life, education, protection from torture, free expression, and fair trial. Many of these rights bleed into civil rights, but they are considered to be necessities of the human existence. As a concept, human rights were conceived shortly after World War II, particularly in regard to the treatment of Jews and other groups by the Nazis. In 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, cementing their foundation in international law and policy.

Civil Rights

Civil rights, on the other hand, are those rights that one enjoys by virtue of citizenship in a particular nation or state. In America, civil rights have the protection of the U.S. Constitution and many state constitutions. Civil rights protect citizens from discrimination and grant certain freedoms, like free speech, due process, equal protection, the right against self-incrimination, and so forth. Civil rights can be thought of as the agreement between the nation, the state, and the individual citizens that they govern.


Coretta Scott King Dies

February 03, 2006

Mother of Civil Rights Movement Championed Gay Rights

As some anti-gay black clergy are likely to recall the legacy of Coretta Scott King and her contribution to the civil rights movement during sermons on Sunday, gay activists hope they will also heed her call for equal rights for all people.

"Ministers today need to sit back and realize what Dr. and Mrs. King were all about — they don’t honor her legacy when they spew homophobia and hatred," said Keith Boykin, an author and activist who serves as board president of the National Black Justice Coalition, a group that advocates gay rights issues.

Mrs. King, wife of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., died overnight on Jan. 30 at a holistic hospital in Mexico. She suffered a stroke in August and was afflicted with late-term ovarian cancer. The King family had not announced funeral arrangements by press time.

"She was a legend. She influenced many people," Boykin added. "And she was one of the few people who got it — that racism, sexism and homophobia are discrimination — like few others did. [Ministers] would do well to call her name and recall her words."


Champion of Human Rights

While her legacy includes being the wife of Martin Luther King Jr., Mrs. King forged a history of her own that included speaking out against a proposed federal constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. In numerous speeches she publicly advocated for gay rights as well as raising awareness about HIV/AIDS.

In Atlanta, where she created the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Non-violent Social Change to honor her late husband, she worked alongside state legislators to try to defeat the state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

"She was a champion for human rights," state Rep. Tyrone Brooks (D-Atlanta), a plaintiff in a lawsuit seeking to throw out Amendment 1, which was approved by voters in 2004, placing a ban on same-sex unions in the Georgia Constitution.

"She opposed discrimination in all forms and she remained consistent with her husband’s vision," he added. "Her legacy will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with her husband’s legacy."

State Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta), who also worked to defeat passage of Georgia’s same-sex marriage ban, praised King as the "mother of the civil rights movement."

"I respected her not only for her grace and dignity under pressure, but her courage," he said.

Zandra Conway, spokesperson for In the Life Atlanta, which organizes the country’s largest annual Black Pride event, praised King for being a "woman of grace and justice."

"She advocated equal rights for the LBGT community and she publicly opposed the Georgia amendment to ban same-sex marriage. One of my favorite quotes from her is, ‘I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people and I should stick to the issue of racial justice. But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King Jr. said, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,’" Conway added.

AIDS Activist Too

The timing of news of King’s death — on the day of President George W. Bush’s State of the Union Speech as well as the confirmation of Samuel Alito as an associate justice on the Supreme Court — is particularly poetic, said Craig Washington, a black gay activist who works for the HIV advocacy group Positive Impact in Atlanta.

Bush began his speech Jan. 31 with a tribute to Mrs. King.

"I’m hoping her death serves as a clarion call for people in this country to call for the rights of LGBTQ people and that it also serves as a call to LGBTQ people to realize that liberation is not fully achieved until we focus on matters affecting us all," Washington said.

"We lost an amazing matriarch and lost our most well-known and consistent ally — she spoke out against homophobia and was very active in AIDS prevention mobilization," he said.

Phill Wilson, executive director of the Black AIDS Institute, also praised King’s advocacy for HIV and AIDS prevention.

"Mrs. King boldly framed our fight against the forces that fuel the AIDS epidemic as part of that mission. That is why she was among the first Heroes in the Struggle the Institute honored," Wilson said in a prepared statement.

"She contributed her voice to our campaigns time and again and to countless other efforts to help black America save itself from this scourge," he added.

Wilson also quoted her August 2001 speech to the Southern Christian Leadership Council marking the 20th anniversary of the epidemic.

"AIDS is a global crisis, a national crisis, a local crisis and a human crisis," Mrs. King said. "No matter where you live, AIDS is one of the most deadly killers of African Americans. And I think anyone who sincerely cares about the future of black America had better be speaking out."

"That address was one of many times in which she spoke eloquently about the movement to end this epidemic, and its place in black America’s struggle for justice and equality," Wilson said. "Her voice, her leadership, her compassion and her commitment will be sorely missed. But her legacy will live on in all of our individual commitments to building a secure future for our community."


Inspired Beginning of Soulforce

Mel White, founder of Soulforce, an organization dedicated to ending "spiritual violence" against gay men and lesbians through non-violent actions against anti-gay churches and religious institutions, credits Mrs. King for "giving birth" to the group.

It was in 1995 when White, who used to ghostwrite for Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson before accepting he was gay, was arrested for trespassing at Robertson’s CBN Broadcast Center to protest his anti-gay rhetoric. White spent 21 days in jail where he fasted.

During that time, Mrs. King sent her longtime executive assistant, Lynn Cothren, a gay man, to the jail to speak to him about non-violence and the term "soul force" used by Gandhi, later adopted by Martin Luther King Jr.
"She was my mother in faith," White said of Mrs. King. "She taught me that non-violence is something you do, it’s not something you don’t do. She literally gave birth to Soulforce. Her legacy and Dr. King’s legacy is we have to take it to the streets — we have to escalate and stigmatize these people who preach homophobia."

Cothren served as Mrs. King’s assistant for 23 years before leaving her employment in 2004. A former Atlantan, he now lives in Manhattan and is director of administration for the Girl Scouts of the USA. Cothren said gay men and lesbians have lost a significant force and ally in King.

Cothren recalled how Mrs. King would give him time to go protest Cracker Barrel restaurants for its anti-gay hiring practices and how, despite pressure from some advisers to fire him because he was gay, she told them, "I know what I need and he does his job."

"I think the world has lost a great voice for social justice, but particularly for gays and lesbians we have lost one of our greatest allies. She was always there when we called," Cothren said.

"The best way for us to really show appreciation for her legacy is to look at the issues she spoke about — she also looked at peace, at health care — all of the world issues are linked back to us as gays and lesbians," he added.

It was Mrs. King who introduced Bayard Rustin to Dr. King, Cothren added, after she met him when he was the keynote speaker at her high school graduation. Rustin, a gay man, helped organize the famous 1963 March on Washington where King delivered his "I Have A Dream" speech.

"She knew gay people long before me. She was well-grounded, well-versed in all people’s rights. It’s not surprising she would stand up for us when nobody else would. She not only talked the talk, she walked the walk," Cothren said.

Praise for King’s Record

Numerous gay rights organizations touted King’s dedication to fairness for all in continuing her husband’s legacy and praised her for speaking out against homophobia.

"Coretta Scott King was one woman who shared a great dream and a great vision with an extraordinary man," H. Alexander Robinson, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, said in a prepared statement.

"This couple helped to awaken the conscience of a nation. It is this indomitable spirit that will continue to motivate those who strive for equal rights for all and fairness for all families," he added.

In 1997, the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force honored King for her support of gay rights; in 2000, she spoke at the Task Force’s Creating Change Conference for gay rights activists.

"From the beginning, Mrs. King understood that homophobia is hate, and hate has no place in the Beloved Community that she and Dr. King envisioned for our nation and our world," Matt Foreman, executive director of the NGLTF, said in a prepared statement.

Joe Solmonese, executive director of the Human Rights Campaign, praised King for her support of a bill prohibiting anti-gay employment discrimination and for her work for justice for all people.

"She saw justice as a birthright and lent her voice as a relentless advocate for all fair-minded Americans, gay or straight, black or white. We join the nation in mourning the loss of a great hero and give enormous gratitude for all that she’s left behind," Solmonese said in a prepared statement.

The National Stonewall Democrats and its black caucus also praised King for her work for equal rights for all people.

"Black or non-black, gay or straight, Mrs. King dedicated her life to love, justice, equality, and global human rights and for that we are truly grateful," Jasmyne Cannick, co-chairperson of the Stonewall Democrats Black Caucus, said in a prepared statement.

"Mrs. King argued that our nation would not fulfill its promise unless all Americans, including gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens, were afforded equal treatment under the law," added Eric Stern, NSD executive director.

Family Split

In March 2004, Mrs. King joined a growing list of civil rights pioneers — including U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Atlanta) and NAACP Chair Julian Bond — to publicly oppose efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban gay marriage.

"Gay and lesbian people have families, and their families should have legal protection, whether by marriage or civil unions," Mrs. King said during a speech in New Jersey.

But while Mrs. King made numerous public statements supporting the rights of gay men and lesbians and quoted her husband’s call for justice for all, their family did not agree on gay issues.

The King family’s youngest child, Rev. Bernice King, helped organize a march in December 2004 with Bishop Eddie Long of New Birth Missionary Church in suburban Atlanta, to call for black churches to become more vocal on issues including banning same-sex marriage, reforming the education and health care systems, and creating economic opportunities for minorities.

The march, which began at Martin Luther King Jr.’s gravesite at the King Center, drew between 20,000 and 25,000 people, according to Atlanta Police Department estimates.

(From Dyana Bagby, Southern Voice)

LGBT Leaders Pay Tribute to Coretta Scott King

February 2006

Leaders of the country's largest LGBT civil rights groups were among the mourners for the funeral of Coretta Scott King.

The widow of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., died on January 30, 2006. She was 78. Called the mother of the civil rights movement Mrs. King was a longtime advocate of gay rights.

Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese, National Black Justice Coalition executive director, Alexander Robinson and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force executive director Matt Foreman joined President and Mrs. Bush, foreign dignitaries, and civil rights leaders in honoring Mrs. King.

King's daughter, Bernice, helped officiate at the service, held at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church where she is an elder.

Although it is the largest Black church in the Atlanta area the venue, and Bernice King's participation, was not without controversy.

In 2004 New Birth pastor Eddie Long organized a march in Atlanta that attracted several thousand people calling for an amendment to the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage.

The march stopped at Dr. King's gravesite where Bernice King lit a torch and handed it to Long, saying, "I believe this day will go down in the history books as the greatest showing of Christ and His kingdom in this century."

Her opposition to LGBT civil rights put her at odds with her mother, illustrating the deep divisions within the black community over same-sex marriage.

The march angered gay civil rights leaders who accused Long and Bernice King of hijacking Dr King's memory.

Until she was disabled by a stroke last August Coretta Scott King frequently spoke out in favor of LGBT civil rights.

Mrs. King called her critics "misinformed" and said that Martin Luther King's message to the world was one of equality and inclusion.

In 2003, she invited the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force to take part in observances of the 40th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech.

It was the first time that an LGBT rights group had been invited to a major event of the African American community and drew the ire of some of the other speakers.

King said her husband supported the quest for equality by gays and reminded her critics that the 1963 March on Washington was organized by Bayard Rustin, an openly gay man. 

In March 2004, she told a university audience that same-sex marriage is a civil rights issue and denounced a proposed amendment to the Constitution ban it.

"Gay and lesbian people have families, and their families should have legal protection, whether by marriage or civil union," she said in a speech at The Richard Stockton College in Pomona, New Jersey.

"A constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages is a form of gay bashing and it would do nothing at all to protect traditional marriages."

Gay leaders who attended today's service said this was not the time to dwell on the controversy over the venue and Bernice King.  

"The focus should be on Mrs. King and the legacy she leaves," Solmonese told reporters.

(From / 2006)


Civil Rights Resources


Article in Southern Voice: Coretta Scott King
Coretta Scott King Biography
Coretta Scott King Profile on Academy of Achievement
The King Center
MLK Research & Education Institute
I Have a Dream
Nobel Peace Prize
MLK Lessons for Kids
Tribute to Martin Luther King
Web Quest Teacher Resources Lesson Notes on MLK



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Association for Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender Issues in Counseling of Alabama