According to Alliance Defending Freedom, the anti-gay Christian legal firm, Martin Luther King sets an example for promoting discrimination. In a blog post last evening they write:

Last week, we celebrated the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., a man who put his life on the line, and inspired others to do the same, for the sake of freedom. He believed in changing the attitude of an entire nation and over the years has been followed by millions of people, even after his death.


We cannot be silent. And while we likely won’t face the same sort of violent
opposition as Dr. King, we must be brave and stand up to an opposition
that can still be detrimental to our lives, as it is for people like:

  • Barronelle Stutzman,
    a florist facing two lawsuits that threaten her business …
  • Blaine Adamson,
    a t-shirt printer who is being sued …
  • Kelvin Cochran,
    Atlanta’s former fire chief who was terminated …

Because, the usual litany of “victims” are just like Dr. King. Sure. One is required to make several leaps of “faith” to concur. In the cases of Ms. Stutzman and Mr. Adamson one must conclude that arranging flowers and printing t-shirts is some sort of religious sacrament that cannot occur if the seller disapproves of the customer irrespective of applicable anti-discrimination ordinances. In the case of Mr. Cochran, one must agree that it is his right to Christianize a public agency. After all, they argue, he only distributed three copies of his self-published book to people who did not request them. Of course that would be three too many.

All of these people made choices to engage in conduct that was either unlawful or irresponsible. Ms. Stutzman and Mr. Adamson were likely pimped by conservative Christian organizations to engage, if the opportunity presented itself, in an act that ADF would describe as “conscientious objection.” Mr. Cochran’s problem is that he is wed to the notion of Christian supremacy.

To suggest that these people, who discriminated against others (or sanctioned such discrimination) on the basis of sexual orientation, are somehow like Dr. King – whose life was dedicated to fighting discrimination – is both absurd and an insult to Dr. King’s legacy. Coretta Scott King often invoked her late husband’s teachings while advocating tolerance of and equality for LGBT citizens. In 2005 (eight years before United States v. Windsor), she said that “gay and lesbian people have families, and their families should have legal protection, whether by marriage or civil union.”

It is worth noting that those who opposed equality for African-American citizens often cloaked their intolerance in conservative Christian reasoning (all while waving the American flag). The KKK is a conservative Christian organization. I would also remind ADF that it is the official policy of the NAACP to support marriage equality. Moreover, Congressman John Lewis, the last of the Big Six and a contemporary of Dr. King, fully supports LGBT equality. In all likelihood, Dr. Martin Luther King would have been a champion for LGBT equality.

By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.