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Civil Rights are Civil Rights

I have been seeing expressed, in commentary in the main stream media, letters to the editor, blogs, online comments, and the like, the idea that drawing parallels between the struggle for Gay civil rights, especially same-sex marriage, and the Civil Rights Movement is somehow "insulting" to African-Americans. I can think of no better rebuttal to this misguided notion than to quote Coretta Scott King, widow of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:

"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 brotherhood and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people." [Coretta Scott King, 25th anniversary luncheon for Lambda Defense and Education Fund, March 31, 1998]

"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." [Coretta Scott King, 25th anniversary luncheon for Lambda Defense and Education Fund, quoted in the Chicago Sun Times, April 1, 1998]

"Gays and lesbians stood up for civil rights in Montgomery, Selma, in Albany, Georgia, and St. Augustine, Florida, 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, 25th anniversary luncheon for Lambda Defense and Education Fund, quoted in the Chicago Tribune, April 1, 1998]

"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, a speech at the Palmer Hilton Hotel, quoted in the Chicago Defender, April 1, 1998]

"I say 'common struggle,' because I believe very strongly that all forms of bigotry & 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, Opening Plenary Session, 13th annual Creating Change conference of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Atlanta, Georgia, November 9, 2000]

"A constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages is a form of gay bashing, and it would do nothing at all to protect traditional marriages." [Coretta Scott King, speech at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, USA Today, March 24, 2004]

[Source of quotes and citations: http://www.soulforce.org/article/766 ]

Please note especially where Mrs. King said "I've always felt...", and that she explicitly, in so many words, opposed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. There is no doubt that she --and her husband-- would have opposed California's Prop. 8 (and the other anti-Gay marriage laws) if they were still alive today.

We shouldn't be afraid to link the struggle for Gay civil rights to the struggle for Black civil rights -- Mrs. King wasn't. Civil rights are civil rights.

[Scotica's dragon eggs -- click to help them hatch! Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today! (Yes, I'm running an experiment and y'all are my test subjects ;-)]



( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Nov. 21st, 2008 03:44 pm (UTC)
Yes, I clicked on each of your little eggs. I noticed that once I've clicked an egg for someone, the number doesn't seem to change, so I'm not sure what difference it makes.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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