The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) — the civil rights group founded by Dr. Martin Luther King — is “seeking to remove the president of its Los Angeles chapter,” Rev. Eric P. Lee, in response to his role in organizing opposition to California’s same-sex marriage ban, Prop. 8, last fall. Lee believed his public opposition to Prop. 8 would acceptable because the SCLC informed him that the organization was taking a publicly neutral position on the measure. The New York Times explains:
In April, Mr. Lee attended a board meeting of the civil rights organization in Kansas City, Mo., and found himself once again in the minority position among his colleagues on the issue of same-sex marriage, but was told, he said, by the interim president of the civil rights organization, Byron Clay, that the group publicly had a neutral position on the issue.
Explaining that he was unable to come to Atlanta on such short notice, Mr. Lee then received two letters from the organization’s lawyer, Dexter M. Wimbish, threatening him with suspension or removal as president of the Los Angeles chapter if he did not come soon to explain himself.
Lee explained that his opposition to Prop. 8 “created tension in my life I had never experienced with black clergy. But it was clear to me that any time you deny one group of people the same right that other groups have that is a clear violation of civil rights and I have to speak up on that.” The SCLC refused to comment on the matter.