Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.

The oldest son of the late American civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. has said that his father would have been in support of LGBT rights.

On Saturday, thousands of people marched to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington to mark the 50th anniversary of King’s famous 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech.

Saturday’s event not only re-affirmed the continued demand for racial equality but also the importance of ensuring gay and lesbian equality.

Speaking at the event, US Attorney General Eric Holder said that “our focus has broadened to include the cause of women, of Latinos, of Asian Americans, of lesbians, of gays, of people with disabilities, and of countless others across this country who still yearn for equality, opportunity, and fair treatment”.

Earlier, Martin Luther King III told Michelangelo Signorile that he believed that his father would have backed the LGBT rights movement if he were alive today.

“What I know, for sure, is that dad was beyond the average person in terms of what he chose to embrace and accept,” King III said.

“One of the most significant persons – the most significant person in fact – who helped to organise the March on Washington was Mr. Bayard Rustin [who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Freedom this year by President Obama]. And Mr. Bayard Rustin was openly gay.

“The point is, if dad had problems with gays I don’t think he would have embraced someone in such a significant role. I think that as he worked to advocate for civil and human rights, he was talking for everyone, not just for people of colour,” asserted King III.

He also said that he might personally support a boycott of next year’s Sochi Winter Olympic Games over the Russian government’s anti-gay policies.

“It’s certainly something to consider as a strategy. I have supported many boycotts throughout my life. I would not be against a boycott, particularly for a very important issue. The goal is to get as many countries engaged and to support it as possible,” King III said in his interview with Signorile.

Although King III’s mother Coretta Scott King has championed LGBT rights and gay marriage, his sister Rev. Bernice King says that while she believes that civil rights include LGBT people she does not support same-sex marriage.

King III commented that his sister’s position on gay marriage “has continued to moderate”.

Martin Luther King Jr., who played a key role in the advancement of civil rights in America using nonviolent civil disobedience, was assassinated in 1968 at the age of 39.

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