Friday, July 10, 2009

What Would MLK Say? Pastor Faces Ousting from MLK's Organization for Supporting Marriage Equality

Ever been in a situation where you're surrounded by friends, co-workers, fellow classmates, family, where they all vehemently share a very strong opinion on something and you alone disagree? Then you decide to yourself that you're actually going to speak up. Your heart is racing, your mouth is dry, you're sweating, you may even be shaking. You don't know how they're going to react - are they going to ostracize you or agree to disagree?

Fortunately, some of us have experienced the latter, but unfortunately, a majority of us have experienced the former, and for most, it's because of our sexual orientation or lack thereof or gender identification. And the rejection came for a variety of reasons - homophobia, transphobia, religious intolerance . . . the list goes on.

Imagine now a straight ally sticking up for the LGBT population in a religious environment that is opposed to us. A straight ally who has nothing to gain by standing up for us but has plenty to lose - his job, his reputation, his place in his own community.

The Rev. Eric Lee is this straight, religious ally. As president of the Los Angeles chapter of Martin Luther King Jr.'s organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Rev. Lee stood up against the multitudes of fellow African American pastors in California and abroad who supported Proposition 8 and helped get it passed.

The Rev. Lee stood up for us. He went to No on 8 rallies, he spoke to the media, he spoke at protests, he spoke to Unite the Fight! In the video below, Rev. Lee gave us an amazing interview after speaking at Meet in the Middle in Fresno, CA, detailing why believes denying LGBT the right to marry is not only wrong, but unethical. It's a MUST SEE.

Rev. Lee even wrote a book, Proposition 8: The California Divide in which he details his argument for marriage equality and how Prop 8 has torn apart not only our state, but our country.

And now he can lose his job. The New York Times writes, "The Southern Christian Leadership Conference — the 50-year-old civil rights organization founded by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others — is seeking to remove the president of its Los Angeles chapter in response to his support of same-sex marriage in California."

They go on to report, "During the battle last fall over Proposition 8... Rev. Eric P. Lee, was more than a tangential figure for the opposition. He was front and center at an opposition group’s large rally at City Hall and marched in the blazing sun for 15 miles in Fresno. Many other local African-American pastors prepared mailings featuring church leaders in support of the proposition and linking their views to President Obama, then the Democratic nominee for president."

From the Meet in the Middle March starting in Selma, CA and ending in Fresno, CA:

The article details the exchange between Rev. Lee and the organization, how at first they said they were neutral on the subject of same-sex marriage but then turned around and in May demanded to know why Rev. Lee and his autonomously ran chapter took a stand against Prop 8 and informed the reverend they intended to oust him.

"Dr. King would be turning over in his grave right now," Rev. Lee told the Times.

The president of the Los Angeles city council and Rev. Lee's own chapter are standing up for him. And we must join them.


Contact Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti and add your voice to the growing support for the Rev. Lee. You can email him at or call him at (213) 473-7013.

Contact the SCLC Los Angeles chapter and express your gratitude for their continued stance for our equality.

4182 S. Western Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90062
Phone: (323) 290-4100

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