And if not, why not?
With less than a month to go before Miami-Dade County voters go to the primary polls on Sept. 10, the battle to retain the county's 4-year-old gay rights ordinance could hinge on the hotly disputed African-American vote.
On Tuesday, African-American leaders led by state Rep. Frederica Wilson and Bess McElroy, former president of People United Leading the Struggle for Equality (PULSE), held a press conference to oppose the ballot initiative (which would scrap the current gay rights law) and make their own appeal to the county's 184,000 registered black voters, who reflect about 20 percent of the total electorate.
In contrast, African-American civil rights activist Nathaniel Wilcox, a veteran of PULSE, is leading the charge to repeal the anti-discrimination law that took years to put back in place after Anita Bryant's Save the Children campaign scuttled it in the late 1970s.
Wilcox has helped energize the conservative black church community, with the backing of the African American Council of Christian Clergy, who recently helped circulate a flyer saying Martin Luther King would be "outraged" by the gay rights law. A spokesperson for Coretta Scott King and the King Center disavowed the flyer.
A valid criticism of this site is that I don't spend nearly enough time talking about ignorant-ass black people (the Right Rev. Reggie White excepted).
Allow me to address this concern. Nathaniel Wilcox is, officially, an ignorant-ass black person. Using MLK's name in that way pushes him close to the border between ignorant-ass and hopelessly fucked in the head.
And a trivial Google on the subject brings up:
"While Martin Luther King, Jr. never expressed publicly his views on homosexuality, in private conversations with his wife, and through his actions, he did see that gay and lesbian rights were an issue that had to be dealt with," Cothren said.
"Dr. King firmly believed that discrimination whether it be racism, homophobia or sexism against anyone is wrong and completely unacceptable," he said.
The King Center released an official statement Aug. 1 denouncing the invocation of the civil rights leader's name in conjunction with a fight to deny rights to gays, including a statement from his widow.
"I appeal to everybody who believes in Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream to make room at the table of brother- and sisterhood for lesbians and gay people," Mrs. King said in the statement.
On good days, I think homophobia in the black community is like anti-Semitism in the black community; it's not that there's more of it, just that people don't bother hiding it. Which could be considered a refreshing breach of the constricting rules of political correctness, if you're looking for a silver lining in that cloud.
You don't want to know what I think on bad days.
Update: And here's President Bush, speaking out in support of hate crimes legislation:
The history of our country is the story of a promise, a promise of life and liberty made at our founding and fulfilled over the centuries in our laws. It is a story of expanding inclusion and protection for the ignored and the weak and the powerless. And now we extend the promise and protection to the most vulnerable members of our society.
Today I sign the Born Alive Infants Protection Act.
My bad. That was President Bush, being an ignorant-ass white person, as usual.
There's also a column by Leonard Pitts Jr. in yesterday's Detroit Free Press, pointing out that Linking King to anti-gays is an outrage. Because they call themselves that, I always mistakenly think Freep.com is the Free Republic site. So initally when I saw where the article link pointed, I was like, "Wow, they must have stopped taking the stupid pills."
No, I must have picked up their prescription by mistake.