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Bernice King, Daughter Of Martin Luther King, Jr., Discusses Homosexuality, Says 'I'm Not The Enemy'

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In a new interview with Atlanta Magazine, Bernice King opens up to Rebecca Burns about her life, her fraught relationships with her brothers, and her evolving views on homosexuality.

GA Voice reports:

"For many years, those in the LGBT community have felt betrayed by Bernice King's public aversion toward gay and lesbian people even though her mother was an outspoken advocate and fierce ally for LGBT equality.

"In 2004, Bernice King famously led a march alongside Eddie Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church of thousands through the streets of Atlanta to protest same-sex marriage. 

"But in January 2012, Bernice King shocked LGBT people by including them in a speech at the annual MLK rally at the King Center as part of the city's annual celebration of her father's birthday. King, though, still seems to carry some kind of grudge against gay people."

In her new interview, King gives mixed messages, revealing her love-for-all, rights-for-some attitude about the gay community.

"People have labeled me homophobic. If I was homophobic, I wouldn't have friends who are gay and lesbian, so that can't be true. But because I have a certain belief system, I am now the enemy. And I'm not the enemy. I have love for everybody, period. I don't think it's my role and responsibility to take on a platform unless God calls me to do it. That's not something I feel called to do.

"When my mother was living they tried to pit us against each other. I love my mother and she loved me. They couldn't divide true love. We had good conversations concerning this whole issue. But I think we have to be careful in our nation that we don't demonize everyone who doesn't agree with us. …  I value marriage between a man and woman. Spiritually I value that. Psychologically I value that. I know that the absence of my father in my life had its cost."

While King is certainly voicing her support for a community with which she associates now more than ever, that support is limited when it comes to the law. Asked whether she would want to see her gay and lesbian friends marry, King replied: "I wouldn't marry them. But I don't dictate that. That's society's call." 

We can only hope that as society continues to make calls in favor of equality among all people, the vital voice of Bernice King will follow.  

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  1. Bernice King, you ARE the enemy, and your father and mother would be ashamed of you.

    Posted by: Richard | Jul 29, 2013 2:26:29 PM

  2. Her past actions don't seem to match up with her words. I think that's called hypocrisy.

    Posted by: Jack M | Jul 29, 2013 2:31:40 PM

  3. Bernice King proves that the apple can, in fact, fall far from the tree, roll down the hill, and go into the gutter.

    Posted by: marengo | Jul 29, 2013 2:37:40 PM

  4. Correct Bernice, you are not Homophobic since you have gay friends.

    you ARE Heterosexist because you believe none heteros are less deserving of the same rights

    Posted by: QJ201 | Jul 29, 2013 2:38:07 PM

  5. I've always thought that struggles unite people. We can see through barriers to the other side when we are united together. Society and certain members see things differently sometimes. That won't change my opinion on the matter nor others.

    Hopefully with time Ms. King will come to see that we aren't that different from each other. Why would people struggle for same sex marriage if they didn't believe in the institution of marriage itself. We just want equality - I'm sure she understands that longing.

    Posted by: Hey Darlin' | Jul 29, 2013 2:39:39 PM

  6. Not a bright woman. She thinks having gay friends means she's not homophobic, and so no doubt also feels that all white men with black friends are completely free of prejudice. And she thinks that "valuing" marriage between two men somehow means you "value" marriage between a man and woman less.

    Posted by: Vint | Jul 29, 2013 2:47:53 PM

  7. They're not your friends, Ms. King. They simply tolerate your presence.

    If you cannot be honestly and truly happy for these people, cannot celebrate their lives with them fully and without hesitation, cannot encourage them to find happiness in their own way, then you're not their friend.

    The fact that you aren't hiding in bushes with a baseball bat doesn't mean you're not the enemy.

    Posted by: Rrhain | Jul 29, 2013 2:49:46 PM

  8. This is something I don't understand. If these friends of hers are gay why are they still her friends? I'm gonna distance from people like that.

    Posted by: Ben Nevis | Jul 29, 2013 2:58:27 PM

  9. Bernice King is not a vital voice. She's a bigot who hides behind her religion, and she should STFU.

    Posted by: Wisebear | Jul 29, 2013 3:00:10 PM

  10. It's ironic that Bernice has not only missed the main crux of her phenomenal father's and mother's message (which was not about rights for blacks alone but about respect and fairness for ALL people), but that her words sound very much like those of the "softer" approach to bigotry than millions had against her father.
    "How could I be a racist when I have a negro maid?.... The integrationists shouldn't think little ol' me is the enemy; I just value having schools and hotels and voting reserved for white people. I don't carry the Curse of Ham and so spiritually, I value the blessing of my white skin. Just because I have a certain belief system doedn't make ME the enemy."

    I mean, her parents not only had to deal with violence, they also had to deal with white racists with thought patterns like Bernice's, who helped legitimize that violence by trying to keep "the other" "in their place."

    Posted by: GregV | Jul 29, 2013 3:04:34 PM

  11. How awesome would it be to have a famous parent whose name you could live off of, like this lady or Christopher Rice or some of these other over rated offspring?

    Posted by: Frank | Jul 29, 2013 3:04:57 PM

  12. This made me literally lol. King saying she is not a homophobe because she has a gay friend is just like every racist that says they aren't racist because they have a black friend.

    Posted by: Kevin | Jul 29, 2013 3:05:52 PM

  13. How can she say for certain that the absence of her father in her life is what caused negative things to happen to her? Of course it had a negative impact, but whatever happened in her life, how can she say for certain that it was the absence of her father that specifically caused the other negative things to come about?

    She seems to be coping fairly well, so it couldn't have had that many repercussions.

    Furthermore, it's the children of single parent households that studies have found do not fair as well as children of two-parent households. Two-parent households regardless of the parents gender. But homophobes don't care about that last fact.
    But look at all of the (invalid) reasons she gave for why she is opposed to equality. This really has nothing to do with children when it comes to Bernice or any other homophobe for that matter. It's just another talking-point they use in order to deprive same-sex couples of their rights.

    Hopefully she evolves soon.

    Posted by: Chris | Jul 29, 2013 3:08:16 PM

  14. Bernice has gay "friends" like Rick Santorum has gay "friends".

    Posted by: Dave in PA | Jul 29, 2013 3:09:52 PM

  15. You're all just hatin' on her because she's black. Racists.

    Posted by: DERRICK FROM PHILLY | Jul 29, 2013 3:16:52 PM

  16. You're all just hatin' on her because she's black. Racists.

    Posted by: DERRICK FROM PHILLY | Jul 29, 2013 3:16:52 PM

    R U Serious? You missed the crux of all the comments......IRONY they name is Derrick

    Posted by: disgusted american | Jul 29, 2013 3:36:16 PM

  17. It's sad that Bernice chose to follow the fundamentalist path of intolerance and hate rather than the path of her mother. Coretta Scott King was a beautiful person and a class act. A classically trained violist and singer, among other accomplishments, she understood that her husband's message extended beyond civil rights for African Americans to full rights for all people.

    Posted by: Houndentenor | Jul 29, 2013 3:46:35 PM

  18. Very well put Dave in PA. I like your comment.

    Posted by: Ben Nevis | Jul 29, 2013 3:49:28 PM

  19. All I can say to Ms. King is, yes, you are the enemy. Her parents are crying from the great beyond.

    Posted by: Laurie | Jul 29, 2013 4:06:33 PM

  20. Bernice. Please truly follow your biblical beliefs and STFU.

    1. "I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet." ~ 1 Timothy 2:12

    2. "Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says." ~ 1 Corinthians 14:34

    You conveniently have ignored your 'beliefs' when it came to those two biblical passages haven't you Bernice?

    Posted by: J. Alan | Jul 29, 2013 4:08:15 PM

  21. If I were misogynous, I wouldn’t have female friends. We Americans can be so, so dumb.

    Posted by: Carlie | Jul 29, 2013 4:14:17 PM

  22. Bernice, please channel your parents. Kthanks.

    Love you Coretta. your message sines on.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jul 29, 2013 4:15:55 PM

  23. Bernice: You may not consider yourself "the enemy", but you are no leader, either. STFU. No one cares.

    Posted by: Geoff | Jul 29, 2013 4:32:44 PM

  24. LOL @ "You're all just hatin' on her because she's black. Racists."

    Phuck you, Rick/David Hagatha Hearne. LOL...that's not my style, bytch. LOL

    And this topic didn't interest me enough to comment. I don't expect Southern Baptist to accept marriage equality. When they do it surprises the shyt outta' me.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Jul 29, 2013 4:33:05 PM

  25. She obviously forgot that her father fought (and died) for equality for ALL PEOPLE, not just for some.

    Posted by: FuryOfFirestorm | Jul 29, 2013 4:45:11 PM

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