Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender religious leaders pay tribute to legacy of Coretta Scott King

February 07, 2006

Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications

WASHINGTON, Feb. 7 — Civil rights activist and ally of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, Coretta Scott King, was laid to rest today in Atlanta. Mrs. King's quiet dignity as she worked to achieve greater justice and equality for all people has inspired activists of all races, ages and religious beliefs. The following are comments from members and friends of the National Religious Leadership Roundtable on the passing of Mrs. King:

Mrs. Coretta Scott King willingly devoted her life to the struggle for equality, justice and peace through non-violence. Her embrace of the inherent worth of every human being propelled her to abhor discrimination on the basis of race, class, gender and sexual orientation. In the true legacy of her husband, Mrs. King continued to beat the drum for justice for all. Her quiet dynamism will be sorely missed as the struggle for the beloved community inclusive of all of humanity continues. — Rev. Cedric Harmon, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Washington, D.C.

Mrs. King's unparalleled and dignified grace framed her life of love and justice at every turn. As the American flag flies at half mast, it is a sad irony that the America she dreamed of and worked for is dissolving day by day as our liberties are being eroded. On the day of her passing, the president paid brief homage to her in his State of the Union address and Judge Samuel Alito was sworn in as a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. As the political environment continues to endanger civil rights and personal freedom, I am already missing the voice Mrs. King brought to the public conversation. Even as I mourn her death, I will call on her inspiration to light the darkest days and work for the vision she held so fiercely. — Rev. Penny Nixon, Metropolitan Community Church, San Francisco

Coretta Scott King never asked to be in the spotlight, but she lived her life and fulfilled her role with great courage and dignity. She inspired countless people to fight for their civil rights, not only African-Americans, but also gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and for many others who suffer injustice. She understood and taught the truth that injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere. Her life was a blessing to all. — Rabbi Devon Lerner, Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry, Boston, MA

Coretta Scott King came to clearly understand that the Gospel message rang out for all lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders… Her powerful voice gave witness that God's love is for all and that we must work for justice for all Americans. May God bless this great and faithful servant, Coretta Scott King, as she arrives at Heaven's door. — Debbie Weill, DignityUSA, Washington, D.C.

Coretta Scott King's dedication to human rights began long before Brown v. Board of Education. An equal to Dr. King, she demonstrated her dynamism in altering America's moral fiber. She never failed in her vision and she fought for all Americans. Whether black or not, woman or not, gay or not, she never faltered in her belief that all of God's creation is worthy of respect and love. I pray we honor her by doing the same. — Imam Daayiee Abdullah, Al-Fatiha, Washington, D.C.

As a native Atlantan who lived through the civil rights era and has been involved with the struggle for full inclusion of people of all sexual orientations in faith communities, I am saddened by the death of Coretta Scott King… She was a person of deep faith who consistently worked for equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons. In Atlanta we have always been blessed knowing that her support was unwavering. She helped make Atlanta the welcoming place it has become. I thank God for the gift of her life and the legacy of grace in the face of great odds which she leaves us all. — Bob Gibeling, Atlanta Interfaith AIDS Network, Atlanta, GA

The gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community mourns the passing of Coretta Scott King. She was one of our community's most important allies as our movement for equal rights continues in this country. She never missed an opportunity to advocate for our rights and she always included GLBT people in her push for civil rights for all minorities. Her prophetic voice and tireless striving for equality for all people will be greatly missed. — Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge, Whosoever Ministries, Camden, SC

We mourn the death of Coretta Scott King, a visionary and an activist who understood the interconnectedness of struggles for civil rights and human rights. She spoke up for the LGBT community, unafraid to add her voice to speak out for our civil rights. As she often said, quoting her late husband, 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.' — Rabbi Ayelet Cohen, Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, New York, NY

Today, the LGBT community, the nation and indeed the world lost a true champion for civil and human rights across this globe. Coretta Scott King was a tireless visionary in creating the 'beloved community' that her husband died believing could become reality. As we remember her life of dedicated social justice activism, we know Mrs. King's legacy will reflect the values of equality and radical inclusion that was her passion and desire. In that spirit, LGBT activists and allies must be all the more determined to carry on the work and vision of Coretta Scott King. — Rev. Steven Baines, People For the American Way, Washington, DC

Coretta Scott King's passing challenges us to uphold her larger vision of the world by working for equality for all unlimited by social, racial or economic distinctions. In honor of her legacy, we must renew our vows to pursue equal rights for all people. — Swami Dhumavati, Kashi Ashram, Sebastian, FL

The breadth of the Communion Table and the demands it places on those who seek to sit at it are daunting things for those of us who call ourselves Christian... Coretta Scott King was one who took her place at the table seriously... She spent her life working so that her place and the places of other people of color were understood as God-given, not restricted by the sin of racism nor blocked by the ignorance of Jim Crow and all his distorted off-spring. And she acted as if ALL humanity were her kindred, expanding her work of non-violence and justice to all communities whose humanity was questioned and whose blessing had been sought to be denied. This work included being a strong advocate in both church and society for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons and families. As a lesbian clergy member, I give thanks for Mrs. King's example and the challenge it places on each of our lives. May God rest her soul and use her spirit to enliven and inspire for generations to come. — Rev. Rebecca Voelkel, Institute for Welcoming Resources, Minneapolis, MN

Today we deeply mourn the loss of Coretta Scott King, who staunchly stood for the civil rights of all people, including the civil rights of our lesbigaytrans community of all colors, and who consistently challenged our own black community to understand that discrimination is wrong whether based on color or sexual identity. Civil rights is civil rights. I'll forever cherish the day that I and Matt Foreman, representing our lesbigaytrans community, got to stand shoulder to shoulder with her on August 23, 2003, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington. The 1963 march was organized by Bayard Rustin, a black gay pacifist who was instrumental in introducing Dr. King to concepts of Ghandian nonviolence, the hallmark of the civil rights movement. Thank you so much Mrs. Coretta Scott King. You've left an amazing legacy. — Mandy Carter, Southerners on New Ground, Durham, NC

National Religious Leadership Roundtable, a project of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, was founded in 1998. The roundtable is an interfaith collaboration of more than 40 faith leaders from across the spectrum of American belief who are working to change the public dialogue on religion and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The membership of the National Religious Leadership Roundtable acts as a think tank, an educational organization, as spokespeople and citizen advocates for change.


The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.