Perhaps the most poignant expression regarding Dr. King that I’ve read today comes from Bob Herbert (via DailyKos):
“Never since his assassination in 1968 have I felt the absence of Martin Luther King more acutely. Where are today’s voices of moral outrage? Where is the leadership willing to stand up and say: Enough! We’ve sullied ourselves enough.”
While Martin Luther King, Jr, did not speak out publicly on gay rights, King’s survivors have made their voices clear this year on the issue, and they differ. Coretta Scott King, the slain leader’s widow, approached the issue with tolerance, publicly denouncing a constitutional ban on gay marriage: “A constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages is a form of gay bashing, and it would do nothing at all to protect traditional marriages.” Her son, Martin Luther King III, joined her in welcoming LGBT groups to the 40th anniversary tribute to the ’63 March on Washington.
Bernice King, the youngest King child, along with a niece named Alveda joined thousands in an anti-gay march recently, suggesting that King never intended gay rights as part of his civil rights agenda. She also told an audience in New zealand recently she knew “that deep down in [her] sanctified soul that he did not take a bullet for same-sex unions.”
When the man can’t speak for himself, others will continue to use his powerful message as fuel for their own agendas, though there’s no denying that at its core was a strong and overriding wish for inclusion and tolerance.