On Eve of Historic Inauguration, Nation Celebrates Life of a Man Who Dedicated His Life to Equality

by HRC Staff

"Dr. King's dream has not yet been fully actualized, but with the inauguration of Barack Obama, it is ever closer to becoming reality," said HRC President Joe Solmonese

WASHINGTON - One day before Barack Obama becomes the nation's first African American president, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights group, released this statement in observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Day.

"Dr. Martin Luther King believed in the dignity of all human beings and their inherent right to equal treatment under the law. He also believed in the capacity of society to evolve into a place where all have basic freedoms and receive respect based on their characters without fear of arbitrary prejudices," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "Dr. King's dream has not yet been fully actualized, but with the inauguration of Barack Obama, it is ever closer to becoming reality."

"It is fitting that Dr. King's co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Coalition, Rev. Joseph Lowery, is set to give the benediction at tomorrow's swearing-in. Together, they helped build a movement that continues to inspire all who dedicate their lives to justice and fairness-whether for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community or for anyone across the world who faces oppression," continued Solmonese.

Bishop John Selders, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and a prominent member of HRC's Religion Council, also released a statement today. HRC's Religion Council, a coalition of thirteen national religious spokespeople committed to equal rights for all Americans, provide a voice on the critical issues affecting the LGBT community from marriage, to adoption, to reclaiming the inclusive foundations of religion.

"Today, we observe the birthday and the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a visionary, prophet and pastor who believed that justice for the least of us was worth the commitment of our whole lives. Every modern social justice movement, including the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender movement, owes a debt of gratitude to Dr. King and his cohorts. Their courage and commitment for justice is the model all of us now reference, a glimpse of the beloved community that Dr. King articulated," said Bishop John Selders. "As we celebrate King's birthday on the eve of the inauguration of Barack Obama, the first African American to become president of the United States, we see manifested before our eyes the lines King made famous that 'the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.' As LGBT and allied communities of many colors, backgrounds, and means, we pledge today to do our part to bend the arc further until the beloved community is a reality for all of us."

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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