As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, the NAACP board voted almost unanimously to support marriage equality for gays and lesbians recently. And as I’m sure you won’t find surprising, MLK Jr’s wingnut niece, Alveda King, has responded with nothing but logical fallacies.
“Neither my great-grandfather, an NAACP founder, my grandfather Dr. Martin Luther King Sr., an NAACP leader, my father Rev. A. D. Williams King, nor my uncle Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. embraced the homosexual agenda that the current NAACP is attempting to label as a civil rights agenda,” says King, founder of King for America and Pastoral Associate for Priests for Life.
“In the 21st century, the anti-traditional marriage community is in league with the anti-life community, and together with the NAACP and other sympathizers, they are seeking a world where homosexual marriage and abortion will supposedly set the captives free.”
There are two arguments here, both of them logical fallacies. The first is not only an appeal to authority, it’s an appeal to inherited authority. Even if such arguments were valid, this one is easily countered by pointing to Coretta Scott King, the wife of MLK, who was a staunch advocate of full equality. Or to MLK himself, who supported gay rights. You don’t get to claim some sort of familial authority to give you moral credibility on this one.
The second is a fallacy of association, arguing that since the same people who support gay rights also support the right to choose, which she considers evil, then if one is wrong so is the other. This is obviously absurd. It also feeds the first fallacy, since MLK Jr. was given an award by Planned Parenthood and spoke of the importance of Margaret Sanger and family planning.
And notice that there isn’t even an attempt to make a substantive argument. She doesn’t even state a claim for why marriage equality is bad, why gays and lesbians don’t deserve the same rights and equality that her family has always fought for (until her, of course). She has no valid argument to make. That’s why she has to offer fallacious ones instead.