The Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the 50-year-old civil rights organization founded by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others, is seeking to remove the president of its Los Angeles chapter, Rev. Eric P. Lee, in response to his support of same-sex marriage in California.
The effort by the Atlanta-based organization is meeting stiff resistance in Los Angeles from both the board of the local chapter, whose chairman is secretary of the state’s Democratic Party, and the City Council president.
Well, kudos to Rev. Eric P. Lee for realizing that you 'cannot have it both ways.' You either believe in liberty and equality for everyone, or no one..... end of story.
Let us not forget that only 45 years ago black and white people could not marry in most states. In 1967 (42 years ago), the United States Supreme Court struck down all "Racial Integrity Acts," in Loving v. Commonwealth of Virginia, thereby overturning Pace v. State of Alabama (1883*) and ending all race-based legal restrictions on marriage in the United States.
* In 1883 the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that the State of Alabama's "Racial Integrity Act" statute was constitutional and legal; black and white people cannot marry. This ruling would stand until 1964 until McLaughlin v. State of Florida and in 1967 in Loving v. Commonwealth of Virginia.
Worse still, black and white people even living together (without being married) often resulted in them being arrested for living "in a state of adultery or fornication" and being sentenced to prison terms that sometimes reached 10 years or more.
To sum things up, I quote Coretta Scott King, widow of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. After her husband's assassination, she took on the leadership of the struggle for racial equality herself and became active in the Women's Movement, and an advocate for gay rights.
"Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood." - Coretta Scott King
The New York Times Reports More on this story:
While the Mormon Church raised a great deal of the money in support of the proposition, the role of African-American churches, and their voting parishioners, was not insignificant. The Edison/Mitofsky exit poll in California found that 70 percent of black voters backed the ban, which passed with 52 percent of the vote.
Mr. Lee said that his opposition to Proposition 8 had “created tension in my life I had never experienced with black clergy.”
“But it was clear to me,” he added, “that any time you deny one group of people the same right that other groups have, that is a clear violation of civil rights and I have to speak up on that.”
In April, Mr. Lee attended a board meeting of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Kansas City, Mo., and found himself once again in the minority position among his colleagues on the issue of same-sex marriage, but he was told, he said, by the group’s interim president, Byron Clay, that the organization publicly had a neutral position on the issue.
So a month later, Mr. Lee said, he was surprised to receive a call from the National Board of Directors summoning him immediately to Atlanta to explain why he had taken a position on same-sex marriage without the authority of the national board.
“The black church played a significant role in Proposition 8 passing,” Mr. Lee said. “The failure of the campaign was to presume that African-Americans would see this as a civil rights issue.”