Life Hutcherson Booed at Mt. Si High School MLK Assembly
posted by January 17 at 16:00 PMon
Rev. Ken Hutcherson, a prominent opponent of gay rights in Washington State, was the guest speaker today at an assembly at Mt. Si High School, where he spoke about his experiences as a black man and was booed by the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance, pointedly questioned by a school teacher about his antipathy toward equality for gays and lesbians, and, Hutcherson says, made to feel “embarrassed.”
According to Hutcherson, the assembly, intended to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was arranged by his daughter, who is a senior at Mt. Si High.
In a phone interview this afternoon, Hutcherson told me that he couldn’t remember the exact question posed to him by the Mt. Si teacher, but that it was shouted from bleachers in the back of the school gymnasium, and was along the lines of challenging him for claiming to admire Dr. King but simultaneously being dismissive of the fight for equal rights for gays and lesbians.
“I think her deal was that I don’t believe in equal rights for everybody,” Hutcherson told me.
School officials could not immediately be reached for comment, but Hutcherson called the confrontation inappropriate. “I was embarrassed for my daughter, because she was the one who planned the assembly,” Hutcherson told me. “It was an assembly for the kids and for Martin Luther King, who pushed strongly for equality for skin color.”
Asked whether there is, in fact, a disconnect between the message of Dr. King (whose close adviser, Bayard Rustin, was gay) and his own efforts to fight against equal rights for gays and lesbians, Hutcherson expressed some frustration, telling me: “I guarantee you, my brother, you can say whatever you want about Martin Luther King, but he was not fighting for people’s rights in the bedroom. Do not go down that road with me. If you go down that road with me, you’re gonna get a fight.”
He then ended the interview.
Earlier in the interview, he expressed comfort with the kind of confrontation that occurred today, saying: “I take that all the time. It’s just part of the stand. But when it start affecting the kids that planned it and my daughter, I think that something else should be done. I think it was a disrespect for the kids.”
He also proposed a future meeting with the school’s gay-straight in which he would explain his views.
During his presentation, Hutcherson told me, he spoke mainly about his experience as a young black man growing up in the South. “I wasn’t even a person,” he told me. “All I was, was three-fifths of an individual.”
That appeared to be a reference to the Three-fifths Compromise of 1787, which stated that every American slave was to be counted as, essentially, three-fifths of a person. The “compromise” was repealed by the 13th Amendment in 1865.