Today was Martin Luther King day in the United States of America. And as the struggle for LBGT rights makes its inevitable journey to the American Supreme Court, Mr. King's long struggle against inequality still inspires hope that a change can truly come.
There are many, and not just in the black community that take offense when gays compare our struggle to that of the civil rights movement in the United States. Coretta King was not one of them.
"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 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."
And she pointed out that many gays and lesbians had fought for black civil rights, demanding that blacks return the favor: (Ed Brayton)
"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," she said. "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."
In 1994, again invoking the words of her late husband in support of equal rights for all:
"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.
Coretta Scott King's strong and clear voice for freedom and equality will be sorely missed, she died January 30th, 2006.