Sunday, March 06, 2011

This one's for the "You can't compare LGBT Equality to Civil Rights" Crowd

Maybe I can't ... but Coretta Scott King, John Lewis, Bob & Jeannie Graetz, James Lawson, Andrew Young, Julian Bond and Mildred Loving can! [Thanks to Soulforce for this one!]

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 brotherhood and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people."1

"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."2

"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," she said, quoting from her husband. "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."3

"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."4

"We have a lot of 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 & 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."5

"We have to launch a campaign against homophobia in the black community."6

"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."7

Coretta Scott King was the wife of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and a leader in the civil rights movement.

1 Coretta Scott King, 25th anniversary luncheon for Lambda Defense and Education Fund, March 31, 1998
2 Coretta Scott King, speech at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, USA Today, March 24, 2004
3 Coretta Scott King, 25th anniversary luncheon for Lambda Defense and Education Fund, quoted in the Chicago Sun Times, April 1, 1998
4 Coretta Scott King, 25th anniversary luncheon for Lambda Defense and Education Fund, quoted in the Chicago Tribune, April 1, 1998
5 Coretta Scott King, Opening Plenary Session, 13th annual Creating Change conference of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Atlanta, Georgia, November 9, 2000
6 Coretta Scott King, Reuters, June 8, 2001
7 Coretta Scott King, a speech at the Palmer Hilton Hotel, quoted in the Chicago Defender, April 1, 1998

John Lewis
From time to time, America comes to a crossroads. With confusion and controversy, it's hard to spot that moment. We need cool heads, warm hearts, and America's core principles to cleanse away the distractions.

We are now at such a crossroads over same-sex couples' freedom to marry. It is time to say forthrightly that the government's exclusion of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters from civil marriage officially degrades them and their families. It denies them the basic human right to marry the person they love. It denies them numerous legal protections for their families.

This discrimination is wrong. We cannot keep turning our backs on gay and lesbian Americans. I have fought too hard and too long against discrimination based on race and color not to stand up against discrimination based on sexual orientation. I've heard the reasons for opposing civil marriage for same-sex couples. Cut through the distractions, and they stink of the same fear, hatred, and intolerance I have known in racism and in bigotry.

Some say let's choose another route and give gay folks some legal rights but call it something other than marriage. We have been down that road before in this country. Separate is not equal. The rights to liberty and happiness belong to each of us and on the same terms, without regard to either skin color or sexual orientation.

Some say they are uncomfortable with the thought of gays and lesbians marrying. But our rights as Americans do not depend on the approval of others. Our rights depend on us being Americans.

Sometimes it takes courts to remind us of these basic principles. In 1948, when I was 8 years old, 30 states had bans on interracial marriage, courts had upheld the bans many times, and 90 percent of the public disapproved of those marriages, saying they were against the definition of marriage, against God's law. But that year, the California Supreme Court became the first court in America to strike down such a ban. Thank goodness some court finally had the courage to say that equal means equal, and others rightly followed, including the US Supreme Court 19 years later.

Some stand on the ground of religion, either demonizing gay people or suggesting that civil marriage is beyond the Constitution. But religious rites and civil rights are two separate entities. What's at stake here is legal marriage, not the freedom of every religion to decide on its own religious views and ceremonies.

I remember the words of John Kennedy when his presidential candidacy was challenged because of his faith: "I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant, nor Jewish -- where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the pope, the National Council of Churches, or any other ecclesiastical source -- where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials -- and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all."

Those words ring particularly true today. We hurt our fellow citizens and our community when we deny gay people civil marriage and its protections and responsibilities. Rather than divide and discriminate, let us come together and create one nation. We are all one people. We all live in the American house. We are all the American family. Let us recognize that the gay people living in our house share the same hopes, troubles, and dreams. It's time we treated them as equals, as family.

John Lewis was a young leader of the Civil Rights Movement. He was 23 years old when he spoke at the 1963 March on Washington.

Source: Boston Globe, October 25, 2003

Bob and Jeannie Graetz
"We are a retired Lutheran pastor and spouse, whose oldest son was born gay, and who at the age of 37 died with AIDS. Having spent years coming to grips with and trying to understand the concept of homosexuality, we have ultimately come to recognize this condition as a special gift of God conveyed to some of his carefully selected daughters and sons. We have come to know personally thousands of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons. And we have also become convinced that this condition is part of the 'creative given' rather than a personal choice by those individuals."

"We have spent most of our lives struggling against the oppression of African-Americans and other groups within our society who are the objects of discrimination and prejudice. And we consider our ministry with and for the GLBT community to be an extension of that life-long commitment."

Rev. Bob Graetz and his wife Jeannie in a letter to Catholic Bishop Daniel Pilarczyk. Bob Graetz was the only white minister to march with Martin Luther King Jr. during the Montgomery Bus Boycott. He and his wife Jeannie served an all-black Lutheran congregation in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955. Because of their participation in the boycott, their home was bombed twice.

Dr. James Lawson
"Gays and lesbians have a more difficult time than we did. We had our families and our churches on our side. All too often, they have neither."

Rev. Dr. James Lawson is a distinguished United Methodist pastor who worked side-by-side with Dr. King training the young people who staged the lunch counter sit-ins and the Freedom Rides.


Andrew Young
"I'd be disappointed if we did not approve this resolution. I think it would be consistent with our historic spirit of fairness and justice. But it also would be consistent with the spirit of grace and mercy as the path to peace and that you judge not that you not be judged."

Andrew Young speaking about a United Church of Christ resolution affirming same-gender marriage equality. Young, a close friend of Dr. King during the civil rights movement, is a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and mayor of Atlanta.

Source: Andrew Young says Synod's affirmation of marriage equality would be prophetic. UCC Article, July 1, 2005.

Julian Bond
"That's why when I am asked, 'Are gay rights civil rights?' my answer is always, 'Of course they are.'"

"Rights for gays and lesbians are not 'special rights' in any way. It isn't "special" to be free from discrimination -- that's an ordinary, universal entitlement of citizenship."

"No parallels between movements for rights is exact. African-Americans are the only Americans who were enslaved for more than two centuries, and people of color carry the badge of who we are on our faces. But we are far from the only people suffering discrimination -- sadly, so do many others. They deserve the law's protection and they deserve civil rights too. Sexual disposition parallels race -- I was born black and I had no choice. I couldn't and wouldn't change if I could. Like race, our sexuality isn't a preference -- it is immutable, unchangeable, and the Constitution protects us against prejudices based on immutable differences."

Julian Bond speaking at the 2008 Creating Change Conference. Bond was a founding member of SNCC in 1960. While a student at Morehouse College in Atlanta, he helped organize a sit-in movement at Atlanta University. Since 1998, Julian Bond has served as Chairman of the Board of the NAACP.

Source: Julian Bond's Creating Change 2008 Plenary Speech YouTube video, February 7, 2008. Also available from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force as a pdf.


Mildred Loving

"Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don't think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the 'wrong kind of person' for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people's religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people's civil rights.

I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard's and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That's what Loving, and loving, are all about."

Mildred Loving, along with her husband, Richard, were plantiffs in the historic Supreme Court decision "Loving v. Virginia" which overturned state laws preventing two persons of different races from getting married.


Nicole Porter said...

They have a right to their opinion. First Amendment, remember Susan? But it remains just that,an opinion. An opinion by the way that is definitely not widely shared in the African American community.

Scott Evans said...

Homosexuality is obviously condemned by God in Romans 1. To deny that is to deny truth and twist it to fit into your own personal agenda. God's agenda does not include homosexuality. It's a deviant lifestyle not unlike any other sexually deviant activities such as sex outside of marriage, sex with someone other than your opposite sex spouse, sex with animals, sexually molesting children, masturbating to pornography, etc.

Comparing the struggle of homosexuals to the struggle of blacks is a slap in the face to blacks. They can't stop being black. Homosexuals can stop being homosexuals. It happens all the time, but of course, many reading this will deny that true fact the same as they deny the true fact of Romans 1. And I'm guessing the owner of this blog is pro-choice, right? You say people want to deny personhood to homosexuals, all the while you probably deny personhood to the preborn from the moment of conception.

When one takes their blinders off, they will look around and see that homosexuality obviously ruins peoples' lives. They know in their hearts they are wrong to live this way, but it becomes easier and easier to ignore what their heart tells them as time goes on. It's a lifestyle that has done incalculable damage to the lives of billions of people worldwide.

Unknown said...

Beautiful words!

I am so excited to see this :)

And to Scott Evans, in my hearts of hearts I have never been happier than when I finally accepted who I was as a gay person. It is liberating, and beautiful to be exactly who God made me to be.

People don't stop being gay, it may be repressed but those who repress it have been some of the most self destructive individuals I have ever met.

And for the billions it harms? How about some justification and actual research to back it up? From research that is peer reviewed by the way...research from labeled hate groups does not count.


Martin ... BINGO! They do have a right to their opinion. And my point is that opinions vary in the African-American community just like they do in every other community. Which should put an end to "there is no argument that LGBT rights are the same as Civil Rights" because there IS ... and these civil rights leaders are making it. You may not agree with it. Other African Americans may not share it. But it exsits.

And Scott ... welcome. Yep. A prayerfully pro-choice proactive gay activist.

Please note the comments on comments above if you plan to check back ... but for the purposes of dialogue [a] please note that the point of this post was that the comparison between "Gay Rights" and "Civil Rights" is being made BY civil rights leaders ... so whether or not it's a "slap in the face" is their call ... not a call for us pink people to make.

As for Romans 1 ... sigh ... where to begin?

Try Mel White's "What the Bible Really Says -- and Doesn't Say -- About Homosexuality" and get back to me.

Finally, I can and do argue that it's the blinders of homophobia that need to come off in order to see the incalculable damage it has done to the lives of billions of people worldwide.

Nicole Porter said...

Just remember, please remember this Susan, that those people only speak for themselves, not for everyone in the AA community, regardless of their status or achievements in life. Those arguments that they made caught them a lot of flack in the AA community.

Remember Prop 8? A very large portion of the AA community voted yes. So, it appears that the larger AA community ignores those leaders that you posted, in regards to LGBT matters.


And I can show you polls that say the Prop 8 vote was more driven by religion than by race ...

... but again you miss my point. Let me try one more time before I go set up for Noon Eucharist and then focus on my Ash Wednesday sermon:

Nobody is arguing that there are lots of people who think LGBT people are not entitled to equal rights, equal protection or equal blessing. Those who argue FOR equality are unequivocally arguing a minority view. A view that a few decades ago was SUCH a minority that it wasn't even safe to argue it. (See also Harvey Milk.) And a minority view that has grown to the point where a recent CNN poll showed a majority of Americans support (civil) gay marriage:

We believe we are on the right side of history on this issue. You don't. But we live in a country where there are folks who think a black man shouldn't be president and a woman shouldn't be secretary of state ... so those struggles aren't likely to be resolved in our lifetimes either.

But we're gonna keep at it.

Nicole Porter said...

No, believe it or not I understood your point. You wanted to show that there are people who would compare LGBT rights to civil rights, even to go so much as say that it is a civil rights matter. My point is that even though those individuals share your view, it does not mean that their communities are behind them. I'm sure there are even individuals in the LGBT sector that probably think you're foolish for being a Christian, and an ordained clergywoman to boot. They might not even agree with you personally. Even your own community isn't united. So again, I absolutely see where you are coming from. I hope it's likewise.

IT said...

Because, of course, the majority wins, @MartinT?

By your logic, the majority of Americans, who disapproved of inter-racial marriage (by over 70%), should have "won" the argument, instead of that durned activist Supreme Court in Loving v. Virginia, in 1967.(Let alone Perez v. Sharp 20 years earlier in CA).

I'm sure the MAJORITY of voters in the south during Jim Crow years thought segregation should be preserved.

There have been points in history where the MAJORITY thought women shouldn't vote (including many women), or that the earth revolved around the sun, or that schizophrenia was demonic possession, or that being bled by leeches would cure hemophilia.

The majority does not, simply by virtue of numbers, have access to the right, or the truth.

And arguments based on the majority in the face of all this, can have about them a disturbing scent of the torches of the mob.

Nicole Porter said...


Those. Issues. Are. Not. Related. That was the last time I'm going to say that.

And I wasn't even talking about majority vs. minority anyway. All I said was that those individuals listed in Susan's post are speaking for themselves only. They don't have the backing of the majority of the AA community in regards to LGBT issues, despite their civil rights record. That is all I was saying. Stop making it into something it isn't. You despising me because of my views on LGBT in the Church is no excuse to twist my words.


Projection Alert: Nobody said anything about despising anybody. And ... in point of fact ... some of those civil rights leaders are speaking "for" at least the part of their constituency that continues to elect them and support their leadership.

The point I posted this to make remains: It is not accurate to say there is no support for LGBT Equality in the African American community or that all civil rights leaders reject the comparison between LGBT Rights and Civil Rights.

You may not like the point. You might want to make a different point. But there it is.

Nicole Porter said...

Ok Susan.

JCF said...

Those. Issues. Are. Not. Related.


Sure, she's just one opinion (and a dead opinion at that). I happen to think her opinion has more weight (integrity) than yours OR mine, MartinT.

@Scott Evans:

Homosexuality is obviously condemned by ...Scott Evans. I think God has, is, and will BLESS homosexuality...but I'm not going to claim it's "obvious" to anyone but me (well, me and every LGBT/Straight Ally Christian!)

Happy Mardi Gras, and a Blessed Lent to all---

Nicole Porter said...