2012 Election | Barack Obama | Gay Marriage | NAACP | Religion

NAACP Supports Marriage Equality

Yesterday, the board of directors of the NAACP voted to officially endorse marriage equality. The resolution passed by the board reads:

The NAACP Constitution affirmatively states our objective to ensure the “political, educational, social and economic equality” of all people. Therefore, the NAACP has opposed and will continue to oppose any national, state, local policy or legislative initiative that seeks to codify discrimination or hatred into the law or to remove the Constitutional rights of LGBT citizens. We support marriage equality consistent with equal protection under the law provided under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Further, we strongly affirm the religious freedoms of all people as protected by the First Amendment.

A further statement on the NAACP's website provides context:

The NAACP has addressed civil rights with regard to marriage since Loving v. Virginia declared anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional in 1967. In recent years the NAACP has taken public positions against state and federal efforts to ban the rights and privileges for LGBT citizens, including strong opposition to Proposition 8 in California, the Defense of Marriage Act, and most recently, North Carolina’s Amendment 1, which changed the state constitution’s to prohibit same sex marriage.

The sudden endorsement of marriage equality by the 103-year-old civil rights organization is entirely symbolic. Yet as the Washington Post points out:

The decision has political implications for President Obama, who needs an enthusiastic turnout from black voters to help him win reelection in November but angered some African-American church pastors with his announcement this month that he believes gays and lesbians should have the right to marry.

The NAACP now presents itself as a counterbalance to the influence of the traditionally socially conservative black church. It can also help establish closer ties between blacks and gays, two of Obama’s most loyal constituencies.

Some pro-Republican conservative evangelical activists have said Obama’s announcement gives them an unusual opportunity to deflate enthusiasm among black voters for reelecting the country’s first black president, who tends to win more than 90 percent support in that community.

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  1. Yay!!!

    Posted by: Marky | May 20, 2012 11:45:20 AM

  2. The NAACP has long been a good ally for us.

    Posted by: dh | May 20, 2012 12:31:16 PM

  3. If you read the comments to this story on the Huffington Post it's quite disturbing. (Then again it's not surprising that all the nastiness is routed in that 'man in the sky' novel.)

    Posted by: Oliver | May 20, 2012 12:33:14 PM

  4. Hooray for the NAACP, now maybe the black church will get a clue and black folks will start to cut their LGBTQ sons and daughters a little slack.

    Posted by: Onnyjay | May 20, 2012 1:07:53 PM

  5. Onnyjay: Amen to that! Little steps. Don't want to generalize about "black folks" but maybe this statement by the NAACP will trickle down to the family and church level and affect a general change in attitude towards gays and lesbians.

    Posted by: Jacoby | May 20, 2012 1:25:52 PM

  6. This is historic and awesome. A VERY big deal.

    BTW: NOM's strategy of dividing the African-American community towards us sure seems to be a big fat dud.

    Posted by: Terry | May 20, 2012 1:42:38 PM

  7. Odd comments here with seemingly grudging approval. As a reminder, the NAACP has been a civil rights organization from its inception, promoting civil rights for ALL Americans since its inception, whatever their ethnicity. Their crowning achievement was the great civil rights movement to gain equality for black Americans from the 1940s onward, but they have fought for Native American, Latino Americans, Asian Americans and, yes, white Americans. Bravo to the NAACP and I once again as every year will donate to this wonderful, courageous organisation.

    Posted by: jamal49 | May 20, 2012 1:57:30 PM

  8. @Terry
    It was not just a dud; it seems to have back-fired in their face. This is the opposite of what NOM wanted to see.
    Good for the NAACP. They are a civil rights organization; this should have been there position all along. Welcome home Bayard Rustin.

    Posted by: NullNaught | May 20, 2012 1:57:53 PM

  9. Hard to believe that very many black voters would vote for a Mormon. The Mormon church has such a horrific history of discriminating against African Americans. They still refuse to renounce the doctrine that spiritual worthiness is linked to skin color. I think by November the anti-gay blacks will have had time to think this through and will continue to support Obama who will cast himself as the champion of the 99%.

    Posted by: candide001 | May 20, 2012 2:35:13 PM

  10. All these organizations and rappers coming out in favour of equal marriage are all well and good, but there are thousands of priests who are doing the opposite. Who will the black community listen to i wonder?

    Posted by: Rovex | May 20, 2012 3:13:31 PM

  11. Actually, Jamal49, what is odd is how, despite the support of most African-American leaders for gay rights, from Jesse Jackson to Al Sharpton to John Lewis to (before her death) Coretta Scott King to Julian Bond to the NAACP and the Congressional Black Caucus (every one of whom voted for DADT repeal) and right up to President Obama and Michelle Obama (a group that would no doubt include Dr. King if he were still alive).........the vast majority of African-Americans continue to be hostile to gay rights.

    What is it about gay rights that causes most of the black community to defy their leadership on this question? It is the only group in the population I know of where the leaders seem to be largely at odds with the rank-and-file on gay rights.

    It is also the only issue I know of where the views of the leadership seem to conflict with those of the people they have been chosen to lead.

    Very strange, especially considering that much of the leadership referred to above came out of the church themselves.

    Do you have an explanation?

    Posted by: Rick | May 20, 2012 3:30:48 PM

  12. They will vote for marriage equality when these leaders can explain how marriage equality benefits them. Otherwise, they would just listen to the words of the skunk from the sky.

    Posted by: Malaysian Ho | May 20, 2012 3:43:50 PM

  13. @Rick

    Leadership? Rank-and-file? Do you know "the vast majority of African-Americans"? If not, then, as us black folk say in the South, sit yo ass down.

    There is nothing but anecdotal evidence (backed up by unscientific 'exit polls' in places where blacks make up a miniscule percentage of the electorate) that the "black community def[ies] their leadership" regarding gay rights. The black community, as you put it (insinuating, yet again, that "black" and "gay" are always mutually exclusive), is generally no more homophobic than the white community in America. White Christians spew just as much hate, if not more, against marriage equality as those in the "black community".

    Are those bigots your leaders? Do YOU have an explanation?

    Posted by: BLACKFIRST | May 20, 2012 4:07:12 PM

  14. In other words, stereotyping helps no one.

    Posted by: BLACKFIRST | May 20, 2012 4:08:40 PM

  15. @Blackfirst And your "answer" to my question is exactly what we have come to expect from most black gays, on this site and elsewhere. You deny the facts and/or pretend they don't exist.....and then start attacking white gays for even bringing up the issue while defending homophobes who are black. At least your user name expresses your philosophy of life--and it certainly would apply to almost all the black gays who post on this site.

    The bottom line is that blacks who side with white Evangelicals on this issue are siding with the very same people who justified first slavery, and then segregation, on the basis of Scripture. The very same people who oppose affirmative action and practically every other program that benefits blacks.

    There is, by sharp contrast, very little such inconsistency/hypocrisy on the part of whites, who, if they are generally progressive and typically vote for Democrats....are pro gay-rights, as well.

    Sure, there are white homophobes, but they tend to be across-the-board right-wingers who are hostile to all minorities alike.

    And that is the real difference. The point is that blacks who are generally Democrats and vote for progressive candidates.......nevertheless go out of their way to side with the very right-wing Republicans who have no more use for them than they do for gays when it comes to gay rights.

    And all the empirical evidence points to that.

    Posted by: Rick | May 20, 2012 4:22:53 PM

  16. @Blackfirst
    Would you believe data in a college sociology book? I don't know about the numbers now, so if it has changed excuse me please, but just a few years ago my textbook was citing studies that showed an elevated level of homophobia amongst coloured and recent imigrant communites, black, latino, asian/pacific, etc.
    Perhaps the numbers have changed and you are correct, but I think Rick can be excused for believing it is still true when it was up until very recently. Is it not so? As for the rest of it, I have no comment. I just couldn't stand by and let you make that claim when my college text contradicted you. Where do you get your numbers from?

    Posted by: NullNaught | May 20, 2012 4:30:43 PM

  17. Why do you call this support "entirely symbolic"? In what sense is support not actual support? Can only someone who has a vote actually "support" a position. Minimizing this as symbolic suggests a failure to understand what support is.

    Posted by: Bingo | May 20, 2012 4:58:44 PM

  18. It's about time. Welcome aboard!

    Posted by: Max | May 20, 2012 5:20:25 PM

  19. This is fantastic news, of course.

    Poor NOM. They wanted to pit "black interests" and "gay interests" against each other, as if fairness and justice were a zero sum game. That was pretty non-cognitive of them.

    This should make NOM's efforts in Maryland, in particular, significantly more challenging.


    Posted by: pleased as could be | May 20, 2012 6:23:05 PM

  20. Wow - finally blacks did something right!

    Posted by: erd44 | May 20, 2012 7:03:12 PM

  21. My, my

    This place has a lot of shills for NOM doing their best to fan the flames of a fire that is dying down.

    Posted by: Richard | May 20, 2012 8:34:35 PM

  22. Richard, so true and so sad. Such deep-seated hate and mistrust between blacks and gays. Now that the NAACP has come out for marriage equality, I wonder if GLAAD or HRC will help with voter ID, immigration, "stop and frisk" etc...

    Posted by: Jayson | May 20, 2012 9:14:35 PM

  23. Wow - finally blacks did something right!

    Posted by: erd44 | May 20, 2012 7:03:12 PM

    You dumb faggot!

    Posted by: CHRIS DACHOCOLATEBEARCUB | May 20, 2012 9:58:37 PM

  24. @Rick asked:
    "What is it about gay rights that causes most of the black community to defy their leadership on this question?"

    I have to start out by saying that I don't usually agree with Rick on MOST things but I think with his comments on this thread, he has asked an honest question and raised some good points.

    With that said, I believe the answer to Ricks's question is RELIGION. When it comes to gay rights, middle aged and older black heterosexuals GENERALLY (not always, but generally) listen to their PASTORS and not their elected officials/political leaders (even though some black elected officials/politicians are also pastors).

    Religion influences, to a lesser extent, the views of younger blacks about gays BUT rap "music" has had a tremendously poisonous affect on the attitudes of younger blacks towards LGBT people. Rapper Jay-Z's recent endorsement (along with a few other rappers) of same-sex marriage, however, might help reverse some of that damage over time.

    Having said all of the above, I believe that racist comments on this thread (see ERD44's "Wow, finally blacks did something right!") should show a reasonable person why most black gay men see themselves as black first and gay second: white gay men are obviously white first and and gay second. I know white gays probably don't see themselves that way but it's true. And it's not just this particular thread, any thread on this site that deals with blacks in ANY context brings out the racism in some white gay men. Sometimes a white gay man will stand up to it but they don't stand up to it nearly enough. This is a reason why so many black gay men are black first and gay second.

    Just my two cents.

    Posted by: elg/edwin | May 20, 2012 10:03:12 PM

  25. @ Rick,

    An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll conducted in early March of 2012 indicates that black voters are moving in the same direction as the country as a whole. This is a quote from the article citing the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll:

    "Notwithstanding NOM’s efforts, an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, conducted Feb. 29 through March 3, confirmed growth in support for the freedom to marry since October 2009 across nearly every slice of the electorate, with strong growth in support among African-Americans by 56% (from 32% to 50%) and Hispanic voters now supporting the freedom to marry by nearly 2 to 1 (55% to 30%)."

    Here is the link:


    That means that support for marriage equality among black voters is at 50% and among Hispanic voters at 55%. Although black voters are still polling below the numbers for white voters, the difference is small. As for the other commenter (not you, Rick) who said his textbook mentioned lower support for gay rights among Hispanics, that is just laughable. Hispanics consistently poll HIGHER than whites for marriage equality. The only group that polls higher than Hispanics are white ethnic Catholics. And yes, there is data to back all of this up.

    Posted by: Artie_in_Lauderdale | May 20, 2012 10:04:58 PM

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