Reuters, March 31, 1998

CHICAGO - Coretta Scott King, speaking four days before the 30th anniversary of her husband's assassination, said Tuesday the civil rights leader's memory demanded a strong stand for gay and lesbian rights.

"I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people and I should stick to the issue of racial justice," she said. "But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King Jr. said, 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.'"

"I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream to make room at the table of brother- and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people," she said.

"Gays and lesbians stood up for civil rights in Montgomery (and) Selma (Alabama), in Albany, Georgia, and St. Augustine, Florida, and many other campaigns of the civil rights movement," King said.

She said she saluted the contributions "of these courageous men and women" who fought "for my freedom at a time when they could find few voices for their own."

King spoke at a 25th anniversary celebration for the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, a group that has pursued gay rights issues in the courts and won several key victories.

Noting that Saturday would mark the 30th anniversary of her husband's death in Memphis, Tennessee, she cited his "very strong sense of ministry" and said he had often remarked that "the end of life is not to be happy but to do God's will."


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