Opponents of North Carolina’s marriage discrimination amendment got a big boost of support from an unexpected source yesterday. Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., voiced support for the rights of lesbians, gays, bi’s, and transgendered people while speaking at Atlanta’s annual MLK Day rally. As explained by Pam Spaulding of the Pam’s House Blend website (a vital N.C.-based LGBT site, just fyi), the speech was a turnaround for King, who previously had opposed LGBT rights, and even took part in a march against same-sex marriage.
According to GA Voice, King spoke passionately about the need for all people to work together to fulfill her father’s vision:
In 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.
LGBT people who attended the rally said they were shocked that King — who has a long anti-gay past — actually acknowledged the community in a public speech, but said they were also glad because it shows people can evolve.
Supporters of adding the marriage discrimination amendment to N.C.’s constitution are openly counting on the African American community’s traditional anti-gay position to help their cause, but they could be banking on a trend whose time is fading away. The state and national NAACP have come out in strong opposition to the amendment, and Bernice King’s change of heart can only help the anti-amendment cause.