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

Real bernice king

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.  


  1. QJ201 says

    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

  2. Hey Darlin' says

    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.

  3. Vint says

    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.

  4. Rrhain says

    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.

  5. Ben Nevis says

    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.

  6. GregV says

    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.”

  7. Frank says

    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?

  8. Kevin says

    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.

  9. Chris says

    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.

  10. disgusted american says

    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

  11. says

    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.

  12. J. Alan says

    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?

  13. Derrick from Philly says

    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.

  14. Derrick from Philly says

    Disgusted American,

    now you’ve been reading this blog long enough to know that I have about as much love for Bernice King as I do for Eddie Long, Herman Caine or that insane Allen West.

    LOL. It’s Rick the ridiculous writing that shyt…chile, please.

  15. Derrick from Philly says

    Furthermore, there are many Black Gays who believe that Bernice is “family”–she just stays in the closet.

    She may have more in common with her dear friend Eddie Long than we realize.

    …and I said I wasn’t going to comment on this topic, dammit.

  16. Rick says

    Derrick, I wasn’t posting under your name. I wouldn’t need to. I’m proud of disliking gay people as much as I proud of being a racist. And women. And don’t even get me started on gay, black women. Bleh!

  17. reality says

    Yolanda King, MLK’s other daughter was passed a few years ago, was also a big advocate for LGBT equality. Sad she is no longer her to help convince her siblings.

  18. DannyEastVillage says

    Derrick, this isn’t the first time your postings have shown how dim you are. If you’ve got any friends, listen to them: resist the temptation to expose your ignorance when you read this blog.

  19. Moe says

    Oh please. Many black children endured harassment, to suicide because of your anti gay marches throughout our neighborhoods. If you’re not the enemy, you’re certainly not a friend either.

  20. Duration & Convexity says

    When people choose their religion over human rights, they lose the right to be deemed or associated with humanity. Regardless of the great achievements of their parents. Her actions should be judged on their own, not praised for the amazing things her parents have done. This woman is indeed harmful to all social justice, human rights and humanity.

  21. Klien says

    It’s so creepy to me how some of the same sentiments and tone she has in saying “sorry, these rights should not be granted to said group” was used against her own father. And she doesn’t get it. Wow. Just….wow.

  22. Alejandro says

    And how do her friends feeling knowing she just said she would not have anything to do with marrying them? I mean really, how do you call someone like that, who flat out rejects the one you love and your being, a friend? I always feel these gay friends are more enablers to pedaling homophobia, for self serving reasons, than much of anything else.

  23. USC Trojans Fan says

    Whoever wrote this article, Joseph Ehrman?, needs to chill out with the pandering and worshipping of Bernice. I don’t see support in her comments. I see rebranding of her image for personal gain. She still believes millions of gays, lesbias, trans and bisexuals should be treated as second class citizens. A slap in the face to the work of her parents and civil rights.

  24. mododavid says

    “vital voice”? No. Her mother and father were equality pioneers, and we do not have a caste system in this country. She does not become an equality pioneer just because they were. Her voice is nothing until she does something useful with it. She may never have a “vital voice” just as the Mahatma Gandhi’s kids did not go off and become activists, and no one sees Mandela’s kids in the same way as him. She is no one in her own right.

  25. andrew says

    She marched with homophobic Bishop Eddie “I have a yen for young men” Long. His homophobia turned into homophilia in the presence of lean muscular young men. Ain’t that often the case.

  26. says

    You know, folks in the South that supported segregation occasionally would say they weren’t racists because they loved their black servants like family. The more things change…

  27. Keppler says

    Interesting how these folks are suddenly coming out of the woodwork looking for tolerance and understanding. First there was Orson Scott Card, and now Bernice King. I realize that the golden rule suggests that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us (rather than as they HAVE done unto us), but I’m finding it difficult to forgive those who have spent years vilifying us just when they realize that they’re losing the battle for the hearts and minds of average Americans. Unless you’re in this for absolution, which will require a good deal more contrition than I’m hearing, best to just STFU.

  28. millerbeach says

    Wow, what a slap in the face to her late father, one of the greatest men in history. How sad that all that history is wasted on this piece of work. So tell us, sweetie, what have you done for humanity, outside of leading a parade of hate in the name of Jesus Christ? I know you have big shoes to fill, but best to not piss in those shoes, which is exactly what you are doing. What a disgrace to the memory of your father, a man who stood for what is right and what is just. Lady, you need help with your hate issues.

  29. Zeta says

    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.


    Pretty much.

  30. Derrick from Philly says

    I’ll let SOULONE have a pass on this one. He doesn’t know any better.

    But DANNYEASTVILLAGE, you call yourself “reading” me for comments over the years. Oh, really? I went through Towleroad’s archives to read some of your comments, and I’m not that impressed with your wisdom either.

    If I’m a dim 60 watt bulb then you are a 25 watt brand made for a refrigerator.

  31. rob says

    Bernice King’s parents, like the rest of her family and most intelligent people, would consider her a bigot and a disappointment. And like most homophobes, I’m guessing Bernice King, like Alveda King, is a self hating closet closet. I’m sure she’ll be outed as a lesbian in the not-too-distant future.

  32. BlackBeauty says

    Bernice King is not being honest with the public.

    Ms. King is gay, and has lived with her partner for decades!

    When it is said and done she will have to cme out!

    Has anyone ever seen her with a man?

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