As the Martin Luther King Jr Holiday passed, I reflected on somne of the words of his wife, 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.” – March 31, 1998
“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. 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,” – April 1st, 1998
“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.” – April 1, 1998
“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.” – November 9, 2000
It’s all to easy for civil rights leaders of today to forget that the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was planned by Bayard Rustin, an open homosexual. But I won’t forget the words of Rustin, they ring in my ears today with as much force and strength, as the first time I heard them.
The fact of the matter is that there is a small percentage of people in America who understand the true nature of the homosexual community. There is another small percentage who will never understand us. Our job is not to get those people who dislike us to love us. Nor was our aim in the civil rights movement to get prejudiced white people to love us. Our aim was to try to create the kind of America, legislatively, morally, and psychologically, such that even though some whites continued to hate us, they could not openly manifest that hate. That’s our job today: to control the extent to which people can publicly manifest anti-gay sentiment.” – Time on Two Crosses –The Collected Writings of Bayard Rustin