As MLK parades get under way from coast to coast to honor the slain civil rights icon, more than 40 African-American religious and political leaders gathered this morning at the Freedom Baptist Church in Hillside, Ill. to contest what they see as a misrepresentation of King's legacy and civil rights.
The group has taken issue with the recent passing of a "civil unions" bill in Illinois has been heralded by some lawmakers as a win for civil rights—and others have even suggested that King's civil rights interests would have included homosexuality.
"Skin color is not analogous to behavior," says David Smith, executive director of the Illinois Family Institute. "To equate homosexuality to race is offensive and perverts the noble cause of a great man and an important movement in our history."
The Illinois Family Institute points to a recent Illinois house floor debate on the issue of civil unions. The group reports that both State Representative Careen Gordon and State Representative Greg Harris exploited a flawed analogy by comparing same sex marriage to interracial marriage.
In essence, the group argues, they are claiming that opposition to discrimination based on an immutable, non-behavioral, morally neutral condition like race is equivalent to homosexuals' fight to normalize and institutionalize deviant sexual relations. Gordon described the passage of the civil union bill as doing "God's work."
Pastor Al Cleveland, Bishop Michael Love, Dr. Hiram Crawford, Apostle Stephen Garner Dr. Eric Wallace and many others are working together with the Illinois Family Institute to, as they see it, set the record straight.
Gordon and Harris could not immediately be reached for comment.
Do you agree with these African-American leaders? Is MLK's legacy being twisted?
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