HARRISBURG, Pa. — A 90-year-old former U.S. senator and adviser to Martin Luther King, Jr. has announced that he plans to “wed” his 40-year-old male partner on Saturday.
Harris Wofford served in the Senate from 1991 to 1995, and was the Pennsylvania Secretary of Labor and Industry from 1987 until his election to Congress. He also worked as a civil rights assistant to then President John F. Kennedy in the 1960’s, and helped with Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.
The year after his departure from the Senate, Wofford’s wife of 48 years, Clare, passed away following a struggle with leukemia.
On Saturday, the New York Times published an article penned by Wofford entitled “Finding Love Again, This Time With a Man.” In the piece, Wofford explained that five years after his wife died, he entered into a relationship with another man.
“We were both about to turn 70 when [Claire] died. I assumed that I was too old to seek or expect another romance. But five years later, standing on a beach in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., I sensed a creative hour and did not want to miss it,” he wrote.
Wofford said that he met a then 25-year-old Matthew Charlton while at the beach and found himself having feelings that went beyond friendship.
“I admired Matthew’s adventurous 25-year-old spirit. When he told me that I was ‘young at heart,’ I liked the idea,” he wrote. “We took trips around the country and later to Europe together, becoming great friends. We both felt the immediate spark, and as time went on, we realized that our bond had grown into love. Other than with Clare, I had never felt love blossom this way before.”
Wofford said that he doesn’t believe it matters if the person he has feelings for is male or female.
“Too often, our society seeks to label people by pinning them on the wall—straight, gay or in between. I don’t categorize myself based on the gender of those I love. I had a half-century of marriage with a wonderful woman, and now am lucky for a second time to have found happiness,” he opined.
The former adviser to Martin Luther King Jr. then announced that he and Charlton planned to “wed” on April 30 and asserted that homosexuality is the next civil rights movement.
“I had seen firsthand—working and walking with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.—that when the time was right, major change for civil rights came to pass in a single creative decade. It is right to expand our conception of marriage to include all Americans who love each other,” he stated.
Reaction to the announcement has been mixed.
“Shouldn’t Wofford be free to do what he wants as long as he doesn’t harm anyone?” one commenter wrote.
“Perhaps. But in this case, he is harming the entire fabric of society by petending perversion is normal,” another replied. “‘Do what thou will shall be the law’ was suggested by the arch Satanist Alistair Crowley.”