California | Gay Marriage | Gay Rights | Jonathan Capehart | Julian Bond | NAACP | News | Proposition 8

NAACP Supports Challenge to Prop 8, Calls for Court to Overturn It

The NAACP yesterday sent out a press statement expressing its opposition to Proposition 8 and voicing its support of the California legislature's challenge:

Jealous "In a letter to legislative leaders, NAACP national board chair Julian Bond and President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous urged passage of House Resolution 5 and Senate Resolution 7 to put the legislature on record calling for invalidation of Prop. 8 as an improper and dangerous alteration of the California Constitution. SR 7, sponsored by Equality California (EQCA), will be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Feb. 24th and will proceed to the full Senate for a vote shortly thereafter. Its companion bill, HR 5, also sponsored by EQCA, passed the Assembly Judiciary Committee on Feb. 17th and is eligible for a vote before the full Assembly as early as today."

Said Jealous: "The NAACP's mission is to help create a society where all Americans have equal protection and opportunity under the law. Our Mission Statement calls for the 'equality of rights of all persons.' Prop. 8 strips same-sex couples of a fundamental freedom, as defined by the California State Supreme Court. In so doing, it poses a serious threat to all Americans. Prop. 8 is a discriminatory, unprecedented change to the California Constitution that, if allowed to stand, would undermine the very purpose of a constitution and courts - assuring equal protection and opportunity for all and safeguarding minorities from the tyranny of the majority."

The California State Conference of the NAACP filed briefs with the California Supreme Court, "arguing that the measure drastically alters the equal protection guarantee in California's Constitution and that the rights of a minority cannot be eliminated by a simple majority vote."

The Court will hear arguments on March 5 and has six months to rule on the matter.

Watch a pre-election interview of NAACP national board chair Julian Bond by Washington Post editorial board member Jonathan Capehart, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. This is heartening news. I'm grateful for their support and how they framed it within the context of protecting equality.

    Posted by: FASTLAD | Feb 24, 2009 9:31:26 AM

  2. If the argument remains about CIVIL rights, then I don't see how the fight can be lost. It has to be moved from the "religious argument" arena to the "civil rights argument" arena and be fought there. The Right will constantly try to drag it back to the church at all costs because they can win with those people. But the law HAS to remain in the public halls of debate, not the pulpit!

    Julian Bond is a man that I hope to be like. He's thoughtful, open, and willing to keep his arguments in the field of logic and reason and not just moral passion (although the question of equality for everyone remains a moral imperative.)

    Posted by: Brianr54 | Feb 24, 2009 9:55:33 AM

  3. Finally!

    Posted by: Jeff | Feb 24, 2009 10:02:53 AM

  4. How is that not Vince Vaughn

    Posted by: JeffRob | Feb 24, 2009 10:21:31 AM

  5. This is an important step.

    Posted by: protogenes | Feb 24, 2009 10:32:40 AM

  6. The NAACP has almost always been in the middle of gay civil rights issues, I know they were public against the Briggs Amendment and they worked with Harvey Milk. One former head of the NAACP (Mfumi?) was at the LGBT march on Washington.

    The gays-blacks alliance is a historic alliance going back to the Harlem Renaissance period in the 1920's. And Julian Bond is not one to kowtow to black church organizations either.

    Posted by: kev | Feb 24, 2009 11:14:46 AM

  7. This is nothing new. Historically the NAACP has been an ally, as has MALDEF. As far back as the 1978 Briggs Initiative in California they spoke at our rallies and participated in our mass leafleting efforts.

    They know that Prop 8 puts their agendas and gains at risk as well as ours. Their acknowledgment of that is remarkable not so much for its recognition of political reality as for the fact that both groups refuse to abstain from supporting us after seeing the repulsive levels of race baiting that infected much of our communities after prop 8. Rising to principle they refuse to become part of the process of divide and rule. Hurrah for Julian Bond!

    We saw that race baiting at demonstrations, heard it in bars and eateries and read it in dozens of racist comments in blogs claiming that Blacks had sabotaged us. African Americans did not take away our right to marriage. That was done by southern baptists like Warren, the catholic hierarchy and the mormon cult. They used Obama’s patently bigoted remark “gawd's in the mix” to turn the polls on their head and defeat us in the last week of the campaign.

    The GLBT communities reflect the realities of US society which is a veritable sewer of homophobia, misogyny, immigrant bashing and racism. We have a lot of house cleaning to do in the GLBT communities as well.

    And we have to be real allies. The Black community has been especially hurt by the loss of good paying union jobs to Clintons NAFTA. There are the beginnings of a rebirth of nationalist sentiments for [independent (of the Democrats and Republicans) political action]. We have to be ready to support that when it occurs.

    Posted by: Bill Perdue | Feb 24, 2009 11:15:32 AM

  8. Great news and Thank you NAACP

    Posted by: jimmyboyo | Feb 24, 2009 11:32:45 AM

  9. Really, a lot of the gay-black tensions are more about class than race, as Bill points out.

    Black churches are the most influential institutions in the black community but they are not the only ones. Organizations like the NAACP are one of the ways to reach black folks that have much more enlightened views on gay civil rights. Not every black person goes to church and I know many black folks--gay and straight--that don't like the church at all.

    Posted by: kev | Feb 24, 2009 11:46:38 AM

  10. Kev

    "Black churches are the most influential institutions in the black community..."

    I would say ALL CHURCHES, SYNAGOGUES, MOSQUES, etc are all the most influential institutions in their respective communities. Black churches do not hold a monopoly on having too much influence in their community.

    Posted by: jimmyboyo | Feb 24, 2009 12:18:43 PM

  11. Jimmyboyo...

    I suspect there's a lot of truth to that.

    However, there are so many functions of the church in black communities, that it is hard to do any sort of outreach or political organization in black communities without going through black churches. For example, many (most?) black LGBTs are actively involved in churches.

    Posted by: kev | Feb 24, 2009 12:37:03 PM

  12. I would urge everyone to go to to either join the organization or at least donate. The NAACP will likely take some heat from their conservative members who do not agree with their decision to stand with us. We must counter the repercussions of those who abandon the NAACP by stepping up and taking their place within the organization.

    Posted by: peterparker | Feb 24, 2009 12:52:42 PM

  13. It's nice to see Ben Jealous coming out from the dark cloud of the NAACP CEO/President search which paralyzed the organization for months. However, there is a larger question within the black community as to whether the NAACP is relevant to the lives of socio-economically disadvantaged blacks.

    Jealous will have a difficult job to do, trying to advance the NAACP philosophy as espoused by WEB DuBois while recapturing its authority to address the day-to-day issues of African Americans (police and the justice system, public education, housing and food security, etc).

    If he is strategic about how he discusses the connection of Prop 8 to not only historic precedence but to the daily reality of people of color ("double discrimination" for black gays, lesbians, and their families; connection between HIV transmission and cultural oppression, etc), the NAACP will have a vibrant future ahead. Otherwise, the NAACP will become a prized relic only of importance to the black middle class.

    Posted by: Foochy | Feb 24, 2009 8:16:06 PM

  14. This is old news. The NAACP openly supported gay marriage (opposed Prop 8 in CA and 102 in AZ) throughout the 2008 Elections and it did nothing to sway the so-called "black" vote.

    Here is Part 1 of 3: "We'll Speak For Ourselves: Gay Marriage and 'Black' Voters."

    Posted by: Brian | Feb 24, 2009 11:28:49 PM

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