Well that was a let down. After taking the reigns of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Bernice King — whose father Martin founded the organization — had the chance to turn a new leaf on the organization’s, and her own, homophobia. In the most clear signal yet, she’s not going to.
Since being named head of SCLC — the latest in a scandal-plagued series of power grabs — King has made no indication that she’s going to suddenly come out for the gays. But we hoped and prayed. She didn’t answer.
What she did do, however, was oversee SCLC’s public denouncement of Florida’s Tallahassee City Commission granting benefits to the same-sex partners of city employees. In an open letter to the mayor, the group wrote:
We the members of the SCLC are very displeased of the recent actions of the commission to revise a policy to allow same-sex and domestic partners to receive benefits as married couples are receiveng. Mr. Mayor, what may be politically correct, may not be morally or eeithically feasible for the stability and growth of the Tallahasee community.
Mr. Mayor and Commissioners, your actions do not reflect the moral or cultural attitude of the majority of citizens you represent. Why should we as taxpayers be forced to compromise our integrity to pay benefits to a society of who the state have not determined or recognized as legal?? Your leadership on this police has sent a dark cloud over this city that expresses a moment of shame and degradation.
Yes, the letter came from a local SCLC chapter — and has already been met with a rebuke from the organization’s Los Angeles chapter — but it’s up to Bernice King to steer the national organization’s local practices as well. With a single swift denouncement of discrimination endorsement, King could direct all local chapters to support equality for LGBT Americans. Instead, she’s sitting idly by, letting SCLC continue its anti-gay policies — something her father would have never wanted to see.