As some of you know, one of Skeptical Brotha’s longtime contributors has posted that he succumed to the cacophony of lies, hatred, and fear peddled by the homophobic religious right, and voted to ban same sex marriage in California. In so doing, he defecated on the legacy of many gay and lesbian people who fought for the rights of African Americans and similarly situated people of color for full equality in this country.
Without community organizers like Bayard Rustin, a gay black man who traveled to India to study and bring back the nonviolent tactics of Mahatma Ghandhi, the civil rights movement would have suffered in this country. The remarkable thing about the multi-talented Rustin is that he was always upfront about his sexuality, he didn’t hide who he was from anybody.
For a man born nearly one hundred years ago in 1912, that little factoid is a big honkin’ deal. In addition to his civil rights activism and his methodical planning of the 1963 March on Washington, he was also a dedicated labor organizer. You remember the March on Washington, right? I believe Dr. King said somethin’ about a dream–a dream that his only living sibling has said has now been realized with the election of Barack Obama.
The late Mrs. Coretta Scott King was clear in her support for equal rights for all:
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.”
“…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.
…Gay and lesbian people have families, and their families should have legal protection, whether by marriage or civil union. A constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages is a form of gay bashing, and it would do nothing at all to protect traditional marriages.”
If the First Lady of the Civil Rights Movement could be for marriage equality, what is your problem?