My open letter is a request for a one-on-one private meeting or public debate with Dr. Avelda King (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s niece who spoke at a National Organization for Marriage anti-gay rally in Atlanta). My hope is to assist with bridging the gap of misunderstanding between our opposing communities in order to lead to a civil dialogue as well as a public acknowledgement of the 41-year-old civil rights struggle of the LGBT community’s efforts to free themselves of unjust laws that allow religious persecution and in hopes of removing the overpowering thumb of our government’s secular mandates.
Dear Dr. King:
Good afternoon! I urge you to denounce the National Organization for Marriage’s relentless obsession to derail the LGBT community’s efforts to obtain civil protections for their children and families. Please understand the same people that requested your presence at their anti-gay rally are some of the same people that fought against a holiday in the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s tremendous work for human rights. Please lift the secular veil used to disguise blatant bigotry from a group twisting God’s biblical message of love into monstrous hatemongering.
For me, your comments on Saturday at the National Organization for Marriage’s anti-gay rally were very painful to me as a person and as a parent. It was reported that you stated: “Supporting gay marriage will lead to genocide and the extinction of the human race” and this comment has no sound civil or social foundation. But, your comments do assist in furthering the objective of second class citizenship for LGBT Americans and assist with the persecution LGBT citizens in a culture war waged against my community by groups like the National Organization for Marriage. You can’t defend marriage from love but you can use marriage restrictions as a tool to spread hate.
Unfortunately, this type of prejudicial endeavor has had tragic consequences on my community that include high LGBT teen suicide or vicious hate crimes. The National Organization for Marriage’s use of your lineage as a weapon in their oppression arsenal to set back civil gains made by the queer community in our pursuit for marriage equality is truly disheartening. Your aunt and uncle were apostles of peace and were aware of the spiritual connection required in denouncing hateful rhetoric used to publicly degrade a minority group in order to further a devout political agenda. I must say I’m heartbroken by your words and cut deeply by your association with this mean spirited group. Humanity is bound to love and inhumanity is chained to hate. The truth carries the power to determine the difference between a federally protected personal belief and unjust mandate of law.
In the words of your uncle, who has inspired my efforts as an activist:
“I never intend to adjust myself to the viciousness of mob rule. It may be that the salvation of the world lies in the hands of the proclaimed maladjusted – in the midst of injustice proclaim; Let judgment run down like river waters and righteous like a mighty stream. As maladjusted as President Lincoln, who envisioned a nation with no separation of those living freely and those who are oppressed. That all men are created equal, and are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
In the words of Jesus Christ; “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you and do good to those who hate you and pray for them that despitefully use you.” N.O.M. is using your family’s name in a horribly painful way and members of your family were known to actively fight against discrimination of the LGBT community. N.O.M.’s requesting your attendance was a transparent effort to weigh down the LGBT civil rights movement. My community’s struggle is a civil rights pursuit because anytime a country allows a majority to use the law to oppress a minority then that is a matter of civil liberty. Our struggle is the same struggle faced by African Americans during the civil rights movement. Loving vs. Virginia made interracial marriage legal and in that case the bible was used as a tool to bend the law to further discriminate against the African American community. The bible is being used in that same way to oppress my community now.
My plea is that you give me an opportunity to change your heart and open your mind to our plight. You have a rare opportunity to right a wrong and I pray to God that you will take it. As an African American you understand the ugliness of hate and the pain of discrimination. This is not a battle of heterosexual against homosexual, but a struggle of justice against injustice.
Thank you for your time and I look forward to our discussion!
C.D. Kirven, Co-founder of Get Equal Now