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New Job for MLK's Daughter


The Southern Christian Leadership Conference has announced the election of the Reverend Bernice King, the youngest daughter of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. -- the organization's founder -- as its seventh president. The announcement has raised concern among LGBT people and their supporters, reports Bernice King has been vocal against marriage equality and stoked homophobic fires when she said, "I know in my sanctified soul that [Dr. King] did not take a bullet for same-sex marriage."

Reverend King also has been associated with the notoriously homophobic New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Ga., convincing her family to hold the funeral of her mother, Coretta Scott King, there instead of at Coretta's church home, Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. She also participated in a march against same-sex marriage in downtown Atlanta in 2004.

The Reverend Eric P. Lee, president of the Los Angeles chapter of the SCLC and an outspoken advocate of social justice, said, "My hope is that Reverend King will follow in the spirit of her father and her mother. We know that her mother, Coretta Scott King, was supportive of LGBT equality, and we believe that Dr. King would have been as well." SCLC criticized Lee last year for his advocacy in favor of marriage equality during California's Proposition 8 controversy.

Of Bernice King, Lee added, "It's going to be a tough role for her because, of course, sexism still plagues our society. My hope is that her election is a sign that the SCLC is returning to its spirit of equality for all people. The need for the SCLC is more critical than ever at this time. Our society is facing the challenges of health care reform, immigration reform, and education reform. Reverend King and the SCLC have the opportunity and the obligation to once again ensure justice is provided to all people."

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