Monday, January 17, 2011

Homophobia will never erase the contributions of Bayard Rustin to the civil rights movement

On the eve of my 40th birthday, I have just learned that maybe I am too old to be staying out until 3 a.m.

According to fellow blogger Jeremy Hooper of Goodasyou, the religious right group the Illinois Family Institute is using this MLK day to divide the lgbt and black community. They and "40 African-American and religious leaders" will gather to complain about the recent passage of a bill for civil unions. According to them:

The recent passage of the "civil unions" bill has been trumpeted by some lawmakers as an achievement to civil rights. It is not.

Some lawmakers have suggested that King's interest would have included homosexuality. David Smith, Executive Director of the Illinois Family Institute, says, "Skin color is not analogous to behavior. To equate homosexuality to race is offensive and perverts the noble cause of a great man and an important movement in our history." 

Peter LaBarbera is very excited about it. Of course LaBarbera, the IFI, and those leaders will conveniently ignores how those associated with the African-American civil rights movement actually supports lgbt equality - Hooper provides many excellent quotes from Coretta Scott King, including:

"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." -March 31, 1998

Like Martin, I don’t believe you can stand for freedom for one group of people and deny it to others", she would tell black civil rights leaders angered by gays and lesbians comparing their struggle to their own. She would quote her husband and say, “I have worked too long and hard against segregated public accommodations to end up segregating my moral concern. Justice is indivisible." -June 23, 1994

"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."- March 24, 2004

And of course these folks will conveniently forget about Bayard Rustin, the gay black man who played a crucial role in the civil rights movement. In fact in the world they want to create, the contributions of Mr. Rustin to the civil rights movements never existed or will never be talked about.

Luckily, we don't live in their world, but rather the real world where Rustin will NEVER been forgotten:

Related post:

Whether 'gay rights' or 'civil rights,' it's all about 'human rights'

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