Coretta Scott King, the widow of Martin Luther King Jr., said Tuesday that gay marriage is a civil rights issue, denouncing a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban it. Constitutional amendments should be used to expand freedom, not restrict it, she said.
"Gay and lesbian people have families, and their families should have legal protection, whether by marriage or civil union," she said. "A constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages is a form of gay bashing, and it would do nothing at all to protect traditional marriages." King made her comments during a speech at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.
On Monday more than two dozen black pastors rallied against gay marriage at a church in Atlanta, attempting to distance the civil rights struggle from the gay rights movement. They signed a declaration outlining their beliefs that marriage should remain a union between a man and a woman. "To equate a lifestyle choice to racism demeans the work of the entire civil rights movement," the statement said. "People are free in our nation to pursue relationships as they choose. To redefine marriage, however, to suit the preference of those choosing alternative lifestyles is wrong."