Is Bernice King, Longtime Foe of Same-Sex Marriage, Evolving?

The Georgia Voice reports that Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr. and a longtime foe of marriage equality, shocked LGBT listeners upon taking the stage at Atlanta's MLK Day rally:

KingIn a passionate, sermon-like speech about building unity, King said she didn't care if people were Hindu, Buddhist, Islamist, were from the North side or the South side, were black or white, were “heterosexual or homosexual, or gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender” — that all people were needed to create unity.

The paper adds:

In 2004, King was an elder at Bishop Eddie Long's New Birth Missionary Baptist Church and the two led a march of thousands through the streets of Atlanta to protest, among other issues, gay marriage. She has also said that her father "did not take a bullet for same-sex marriage."

Craig Washington, a founder of the Bayard Rustin/Audre Lorde breakfast where LGBT activists and allies gather before participating in the MLK march, said he was “surprised  and actually excited” by King's words.

It reminded me that people can and do shift attitudes. They do evolve,” he said. “What Bernice’s turnabout …spoke to is potential to change. We still have to remember they too are human.

I was like, 'What?' I clutched pearls. I sure did. I was not prepared to applaud Bernice King today and she gave me something to applaud,” Washington said.

MLK's widow and Bernice's mother Coretta Scott King was an outspoken advocate for LGBT rights until her death in 2006.


  1. Randy says

    It makes me sad to see gays and lesbians who are so desparate for approval that we read anything into a comment. So she calls for unity — big deal. There are a hundred possible reasons that don’t involve her changing her ideas about gays.

    Maybe she just wants us to donate money to her causes. Maybe she wants to start a ministry. Maybe she wants to bring gays into her arms so that she can change us into the straight people God intends for us. I don’t know, and neither does anyone else.

    Bernice has a long history of anti-gay rhetoric and activities. If she has somehow changed or rethought her position, then she owes us all an explanation of what’s going on. She owes it to gays AND to her current group of anti-gay supporters. If she has changed her stance, they will be as perplexed as we are.

    If she is rethinking her position, then she can say that and her reasons for it. Until then, no one should make any assumptions that the tiger has changed its stripes.

    This is non-news as far as I’m concerned. And I’m getting so very tired of people who are so hopeful of change that just one word will get them all hopeful that people like her have changed. Until we get an explanation or more indepth comments from Bernice, we can assume that her position regarding gays has not changed.

  2. whatdidyousay says

    Good for her if she is in fact turning around.

    But reacting to her previous antics: What a disgrace to her father’s memory. It’s one thing to be against same-sex-marriage. But it’s entirely against the spirit of her dad’s efforts in the civil rights era to MARCH against rights of other minorities.

    This reinforces that just because your parents did something wonderful, doesn’t mean you get credit for their accomplishments.

  3. TampaZeke says

    I’m 100% with RANDY. I didn’t see a turnaround of ANY kind. I hear rabid homophobes say these kinds of things all the time. They do it so they can point to it as proof that they aren’t homophobes. Totally not buying it.

    If she’s really coming around then she needs to say so, very publicly and without mincing words.

  4. Brad says

    As I’ve learned with the homophobe-in-chief, pretty words are just pretty words. Let’s see what actions she takes in future. These overly religious zealots are not to be trusted. She’s said too many damaging things in the past and she needs to at least apologize for that.

  5. justreading says

    I appreciate Berniece King making an effort of reconciliation. Jesus died for us all, not just a select few. We don’t have to agree on everything, we can even agree to disagree on some things, but we all live in the same world and on the same planet. So, we need to come together and make a difference on the issues that really count. World Peace, World Hunger, a clean environment, lower gas prices, lower milk and orange juice prices. No matter what you say, Bishop Long was her trusted friend, and it hurt her that he was somewhat hypocritical in his practice. She is not about being a homophobe. Thats why we have a constitution that allows us to vote, and the majority rules. I think that she is saying that she loves all people and would wish no evil on anyone. How come homosexuals hate being condemned for what they believe, and they beat up on Ms. King for what she believes if it does not agree with their agenda. You throw her dad up in her face. Some of you on this forum are a bunch of heterophobes, so who cares what you think.

Leave A Reply