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Thursday, April 29, 2004

First God, now MLK.

I complained earlier about the Article 8 Alliance's anonymous telephone rampage urging the recall of the four Supreme Judicial Court judges in the Goodridge same-sex marriage case, which didn't get much coverage. That call was clearly targeted to conservative religious voters, because its entire argument focused on how the court had gone "against the will of God."

A parallel telephone campaign — seemingly directed at African Americans — has also been making the rounds, and this time someone in the press seems to have been annoyed, too. (I got the call on Sunday afternoon — not a nice way to be awakened from my after-church nap.) The Globe's Adrian Walker writes:

"Dr. Martin Luther King's dream is being violated," the anonymous voice intoned. "The civil rights movement is being compared to the same-sex marriage movement. If Dr. King was alive today, would he permit this? We must be the voice. We must stand up for what millions have died and suffered for, the dream of equality. Same-sex marriages will hurt our dream. More importantly it will hurt our children." It ends by telling listeners to call their state representatives and "tell them to remember Dr. King's dream." Nowhere does it mention who sponsored it, though I suppose, to paraphrase the late Louise Day Hicks, we know where they stand. . . .

Without coming right out and saying so, [the recorded message] strongly suggests that King, were he alive, would oppose same-sex marriage. How on earth do they, whoever they are, know that? Nobody can say what someone who died 36 years ago would think about anything. Gay rights, let alone gay marriage, were barely a blip on the radar screen in King's lifetime. The King position on this issue simply does not exist.

Still, if anyone would have a valid guess about how this controversy fits into the King legacy, that person might be Coretta Scott King, the matriarch of the civil rights movement. This is what she had to say a few weeks ago.

"Gay and lesbian people have families, and their families should have legal protection, whether by marriage or civil union," she said. "A constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages is a form of gay-bashing."

So, who wants to be the first to accuse her of violating Dr. King's dream? She has spent half her life as the preeminent guardian of his legacy.


("Misusing King's legacy," Adrian Walker, Boston Globe 4.29.04)

Copyright © 2004 by Philocrites | Posted 29 April 2004 at 8:32 AM

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April 29, 2004 11:37 AM | Permalink for this comment

I think the way they make such a claim comes from the fact that King was a baptist minister. What they fail to notice is that King's theology was definelty on the liberal end of things. It's next to impossible to read King's speeches and writings and find anything which could work within a fundamentalist or conservative framework.


April 29, 2004 01:13 PM | Permalink for this comment

I had the good fortune to hear Carol Mosley Braun speak last Saturday night, and someone asked her how she felt about the equation between same-sex marriage and the civil right movement. She said that she felt that it absolutely was a civil rights issue.

She said she had written and article when she was in law school about miscegenation, and all the arguments that were put forward as to why different races should not be allowed to marry were exactly the same as the arguments used today against same-sex marriage.

She was in a public debate with an African-American man about this issue. He said something like, he'd rather "ride with the KKK" than support civil marriage as a civil right. Carol Mosley Braun's responsed to him by saying, "you are riding with the KKK."

Richard Hurst:

April 29, 2004 07:34 PM | Permalink for this comment

Explain to me again why the identity of the UUA is so wrap up in this issue?

I say this as a gay man, pro-gay-marriage in every respect, fully supportive of the idea that any pulpit in any UU church could be used to articulate the theological bases for that.

I'm just not sure why it's a philosophical litmus test for membership. I don't really get that. There are actually people I'm able to have civil conversations with during the course of day who do not support full same-sex marriage for gay and lesbian folks. Are we so intolerant that we have to make our views so damn visible as to keep anyone with an opposing viewpoint out?

I mean, really, the UUA website is just ... so over the top.

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