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.


  1. Oliver says

    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.)

  2. Onnyjay says

    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.

  3. Jacoby says

    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.

  4. Terry says

    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.

  5. jamal49 says

    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.

  6. NullNaught says

    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.

  7. candide001 says

    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%.

  8. Rovex says

    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?

  9. Rick says

    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?

  10. Malaysian Ho says

    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.

  11. BLACKFIRST says


    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?

  12. Rick says

    @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.

  13. NullNaught says

    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?

  14. Bingo says

    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.

  15. pleased as could be says

    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.


  16. Jayson says

    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…

  17. elg/edwin says

    @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.

  18. Artie_in_Lauderdale says

    @ 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.

  19. NullNaught says

    I did say the numbers may have changed. It was not a high elevation. It was there at the time, I trust, becuase I trust my college text over you, or somethng I read on the internet so I can’t examine the original studies. At one time recently latinos were more homophobic than whites and that was all I was saying. I did anticipate the number might have changed and so I sought pardon before the fact, if you will note.
    Thank you for pointing this out, but calling someone’s well-qualified true fact laughable lowers your own credibility in my eyes. If you want to change a persons mind, don’t start by closing it to you with an insult. Doesn’t that make sense? Otherwise, if you are contemptuous of a person they will lose all respect for you, even if it is the first interaction you ever had with them. They will hold it against you and you obscure every future argument you make with this sheen of disrespect. It is hard to like a person who just told you they needlessly laughed at you since you made it clear in the first place that you weren’t sure what you were saying still held true. Is it not so?

  20. andrew says

    This is outstanding news. As a white guy who participated in NAACP and SCLC demonstrations as far back as 1962 as a college student in D.C. I accept this as a kind of pay back. THANK YOU!!!

  21. dh says

    @NULLNAUGHT–Don’t waste your time reasoning with BLACKFIRST. He doesn’t care about homophobia, only racism. And he doesn’t care about facts or figures.

    That said, bravo to the NAACP!

  22. Jumex says

    Are you guys effing kidding?
    How did I know when I clicked on this article that the comments were gonna be riddled with racist rhetoric.
    Whether you racist white queers like to admit it or not, it’s white people who are imposing the heterosexist oppression on LGBT individuals in this country. Black Americans only make up, at most, 15% of the population. Yet you’re scapegoating this minority when the white Christian majority is the group spouting the most homophobic, unfounded vitriol about queer individuals and providing the votes against us.

    You guys desperately need to check your White (and male and cis) privilege ASAP. I don’t want to speak out of place, but there’s probably a reason BlackFirst is called that, and it’s because the systematic institutionalized oppression of Black Americans and PoC in this country is still very much a real thing, and it far outweighs the discrimination gay and bisexual individuals face. This forum is just another perfect example.

    This 20 year old non-Black queer is frankly sick of seeing the bigotry here, a gay blog of all places. Check your white privilege! stop trying to combat heterosexist bigotry with racist bigotry.It’s not helping anyone and you’re making yourselves look like assholes.

  23. Jumex says

    “he doesn’t care about homophobia only racism”

    I can’t I just can’t.

    Also, queer black individuals don’t exist. They’re mythical creatures.

  24. Bill Perdue says

    We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the Board of the NAACP. In California and elsewhere they have a long history of supporting GLBT equality and now they’re playing a decisive leadership role nationally. What they did is huge, if overdue.

    In 1978 the LA Coalition against the Briggs Initiative (LACABI) and our Bay Area friends in BACABI approached many organizations including unions and groups like the NAACP and got a good response. NAACP leaders and activists attended our rallies, spoke against the initiative and distributed our literature. That’s been the case in other states and battles. The same is true for MALDEF, the remnants of Raza Unida and some native American Tribal authorities.

    They defended marriage equality in 2000 and 2008 in spite of the fact that no substantive efforts were made by the Democrats who ran those groups to reach out to people of color on the question.

    It’s clear what stopped many groups and politicians until now was the personal and often repeated bigotry of Obama, who until recently was contemptuous or marriage equality, going so far as to sabotage it in California in 2008 with his rancid ‘gawd’s in the mix’ appeal to bigoted voters, mostly EuroAmerican catholics, mormons and evangelicals. At the same time Obama’s bigotry gave the go ahead to bigots and demoralized the GLBT communities.

    Now it’s time to insist that Obama give up his Jeffersonian (as in Jefferson Davis, not Thomas Jefferson) position that states rights trump human rights. That process is already underway. “On Monday, Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), a long-serving congressman and civil rights icon, said that leaving the issue to states was a mistake. “If you consider this a civil right, and I do, I don’t think civil rights ought to be left up to a state-by-state approach…”

  25. NullNaught says

    I would like to be able to respond if I am caught up in your group of racists, so if you could, would you please point out anything I said that you think is biggoted? I didn’t mean to imply ever that blacks were a bigger problem than conservative whites. I know they are not. I know trying to divide the black community against the gay community was a NOM strategy and I am glad it didn’t work.
    Um… The constant use of the word queer in your post does somewhat dilute your point. It is controversial and emotional language and makes you look a bit over-the-top. I notice you are tying to say that blacks have suffered more than gays and that is devisive. It is not a competition. Civil rights don’t work that way. Blacks have been oppresed, they deserve relief. We have been oppresed, we deserve relief. We both can have relief without taking anything from eachother.
    Might you be a visitor from NOM?

  26. NullNaught says

    @Bill Purdue
    Actually racists in the south picked up on states rights because the south lost the civil war. Jefferson Davis was for federal rights because the supreme court found in the Dred Scott decision that black runaways found in the north must be returned to a slave owner from the south who claims him. the effects were even further reaching than this awful decision sounds.
    Before the civil war, the federal government and not the individual states supported slavery in the south. The individual northern states such as Mass. made laws to forbid the return of blacks to the south. Jefferson Davis hated the idea of states rights. He was if anything a Federalist in that regard.

  27. Jumex says

    I will cede that a segment of my post came off as “x minority has it worse than y minority”
    You lost credibility when you accused me of being from NOM. The irony in the whole NOM debacle was that they don’t need any help dividing the communities. I’ve seen so much racism from the LGB community we’re practically doing NOM’s job for them.
    As far as using the word queer, I’m sorry if that offends you. I assume it is mostly a generational thing, because I wasn’t regularly insulted with the word queer (“faggot” was what was always thrown at me) and it’s a word I’ve come to embrace and identify with. Having the privilege to go to a liberal university on the east coast where queer is something many LGBT and qenderqueer individuals self-proclaim might have warped my view, but I didn’t realize out of everything I said, THAT would be what someone found contentious.

  28. NullNaught says

    You say “I didn’t realize out of everything I said, That would be what someone found contentious” as if it were the only thing I was concerned with. It took up very little space in my response. I think you may mean you were surprised to see it and it looked out of place with the rest of the argument. I would concure on the second part.
    I don’t mind anyone self identifying however they please. What I don’t like about it actually is that the people who use it do so in such a way as to invite straight people to use it. Do you see how it is just like the “N” word and that the original intent was to take back the language? I never hear the “N” word like I did as a kid anymore because blacks started using it to self-identify in such a way that whites were disinvited to use it. They were militant.
    Gays who tried to take back the word queer (and I was one of them) word destroyed by such things as “Queer Eye For The Straight Guy” because they trivialized the uglyness of the word and made it unavoidable for straight announcers to use it. Have you ever heard the “N” word used in the title of a television show? No? It is for a good reason. Blacks have self-respect.
    Why don’t you be specific like I asked you in the first place and tell me what if anything I may have said that was biggoted? I really am curious.
    I only suggested you might be from NOM because you seemed to use my as-far-as-I-know-non-existant biggotry as an excuse to be more devisive than I was or intended to be. Please excuse me if I am wrong and answer the question “what did I say that was biggoted?” Please.

  29. NVTodd says

    Oh, you silly young fagots and your surprise that not all us old trolls embrace you throwing around the word “queer” to describe everybody.

    I suppose that’s to be expected from the kind of silly sissys that brag about their East Coast Liberal University degrees.

    Condescend to the group that worked so hard to even get us to this point, when you were still shitting in your diapers much ?

  30. NullNaught says

    NVTODD reminds me to make this point: When you use the Q word to self-identify publicly in such a way as to invite straight people to use it, you make this decision for all of us. I don’t consent to what you do because being gay you are calling me a queer by extension and inviting straight people to do so as well. However you live your life, you define what it is to be human. And male. And gay. Etc. I am paraphrasing and interpretng Sartre somewhat. I don’t know if he’d agree with that exactly or not. He used Kant to morally condemn us.

  31. Jumex says

    Rick’s stereotypes and generalizations, “Blacks finally did something right for once”, “he doesn’t care about homophobia only racism”, Rick again with his “Blacks are siding with the people who justified slavery”, Rick using the term “blacks”, etc etc.
    I’m curious why you felt so guilty you had to ask what you said wrong, Null. If you know you hadn’t you wouldn’t have felt the need to ask. I won’t lie, you haven’t really said anything bigoted.

    Me spouting off about my “west coast university” was a bit much. I would take it back if I could. It really wasn’t cool. I, too, need to learn to check my privilege and sit the f down sometimes.

    As far as my use of the word queer, it’s because I realize that besides gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, trans women, trans men, straight people, and everyone else regularly visit this blog and I was trying to be inclusive the only way I knew how. I’ll point out that of the three times I used it originally, twice I personally identified myself with it. I definitely see how the use of that word is problematic, though, Null, and I’ll be much more careful when (if?) I ever use it again.
    Though I do see some irony in Nvtodd calling me out for using the word, and then calling me a faggot in the same breath. Oh well.

  32. Jumex says

    lol and calling me a sissy, too.
    Anyway, I hate double posting (LET US EDIT POSTS TOWLEROAD), but somehow certain lines got dropped out of my last message. I just wanted to add that, while you haven’t said anything bigoted, you really can’t deny that this blog is overflowing with racist rhetoric. Virtually *every* single post that even remotely deals with race, and especially ones that are all about race, truly brings out the worst in this community. Look at anything about Trayvon Martin and the comments about him being a thug who deserved it, or stuff about North Carolina blaming Prop 1 on the Black population that happens to be a small percentage of the population and composes a small percentage of votes.
    It’s just painfully depressing.

  33. NullNaught says

    I agree about the racism here entirely. I asked about your perception of me because I specifically defended Rick, and people here are often not very discerning. I had no idea what your reading comprehension was like, so the idea you might conflate my defense of Rick with my endorsing his stance in general did not seem far fetched. Some people here have a reading comprehension so low that they can’t replicate my argument well enough for me to defend my position. They often attack a position I do not hold.
    The other reason is somewhat more insidious. My parents were very racist people. I fear all the time it rubbed off on me. Since childhood I have been into civil rights. I feel guilt for what my parents said in my presence. Once I understood what they were saying I winced often.

  34. Derrick from Philly says


    As usual you point out that the majority Black Americans are not in favor of marriage equality WHEN IT COMES TO OPINION POLLS and BALLOT INITIATIVES.

    But when it comes to supporting politicians WE have no problem supporting pro-Gay rights candidates. And don’t tell me about any damn entitlement programs, RICK…most Blacks who vote regularly don’t get any damn entitlements (except the elderly on social security). And that is why President Obama’s support for same sex marriage will have no effect on his support from Black Church folks– I repeat, they are always voting for pro-Gay rights politicians.

    Does anyone know what the Black vote was in Houston for Anise Parker? I’ll bet that most Black Houstonians stuck with the Lesbian Democrat.

    (why do I punish myself reading this sh.t?)

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