Iowa/Nebraska NAACP President May Leave Group Over Its Support of Marriage Equality

Rev. Keith Ratliff Sr. of Maple Street Missionary Baptist Church in Des Moines, the President of the Iowa/Nebraska NAACP and a vocal anti-gay activistand Bob Vander Plaats supporter, says he may leave the organization after its endorsement of marriage equality and is "praying over the matter", the Des Moines Register reports:

RatliffThat position now places him at odds with the national NAACP board of directors, which voted on Saturday to support “marriage equality.” Ratliff said he is one of the 64 members of that board, but was not present for the meeting in Florida and would have voted against the resolution had he been there.

“Marriage equality, for me, is between a man and a woman, period. There is no other definition for me,” Ratliff said Tuesday.

In related news, Eugene Robinson at the Washington Post says the endorsement has made the organization more relevant:

The biggest immediate impact of the NAACP's move is to return a once-indispensable organization to center stage. The NAACP was the flagship of the civil rights movement, but in recent years — recent decades, to be honest — it seemed to lose its way.

Now, under Jealous, the NAACP has waded into the civil rights battle of today — and, in the process, reclaimed some of the organization's old prominence.

MLK Niece Alveda King Denounces NAACP's Support of Marriage Equality

Alveda King, a vocal NOM ally and the niece of Martin Luther King, Jr., is not happy that the NAACP followed Obama's marriage equality endorsement with one of its own.

KingSaid King, founder of King for America and Pastoral Associate for Priests for Life:

“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. 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.”

Julian Bond Discusses NAACP's Marriage Support, Jeremiah Wright: VIDEO


NAACP Chair Emeritus and long-time LGBT supporter Julian Bond appeared on CNN this weekend to discuss the organization's decision to back same-sex marriage. Calling it a "welcome surprise," Bond said President Obama deserves some credit in the decision.

"President Obama brought it to the fore when he spoke about it, in effect giving people permission to talk about it and to think about I think in ways they had not. And I think for our board, we were saying to each other, 'If the president can do this, then perhaps we can do it too," he told openly gay CNN anchor Don Lemon.

Asked about potential backlash, Bond replied, "I think thinking people will think about it and say, 'I may not agree with it but there it is, they've done it and I support the NAACP. I always have and I'm going to continue to do so. It's like President Obama… I don't think people are going to say, 'I'm not going to vote for him because he took this position on same-sex marriage." And the election is too far away to predict whether the president's position will impact November's election.

He also told Lemon that he and the NAACP have been "flooded" with congratulations for taking a strong stance on the issue.

You can watch the entire interview, including Bond's comments on the recently resurrected Jeremiah Wright controversy, AFTER THE JUMP

Meanwhile, with regard to backlash, Rev. Anthony Evans from the National Black Church Initiative this weekend blasted Obama and the NAACP. "We love our gay brothers and sisters, but the black church will never support gay marriage," he said. "It is and always will be against the ethics and teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Continue reading "Julian Bond Discusses NAACP's Marriage Support, Jeremiah Wright: VIDEO" »

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.

Julian Bond On NOM Memos: 'One Of The Most Cynical Things I've Ever Heard'


Anderson Cooper asked Julian Bond, chairman emeritus of the NAACP, about the National Organization for Marriage's race-baiting tactics. Bond responded thusly:

It's one of the most cynical things I've ever heard of or seen spelled out in this way. The idea that these people are just pawned that can be played with -- that black people who oppose gay marriage, that  black people who support just can be moved around like pieces on a chess board. It's scary.

Bond's no stranger to the equality game, or taking on NOM's divisive tactics. During the 2009 National Equality March, Bond said, "NOM's underhanded attempts to divide will not succeed if Black Americans remember their own history of discrimination. Pitting bigotry's victims against other victims is reprehensible; the defenders of justice must stand together."

Watch video of Anderson and Bond's brief conversation, AFTER THE JUMP.

Continue reading "Julian Bond On NOM Memos: 'One Of The Most Cynical Things I've Ever Heard'" »

National Black Justice Coalition Blasts NOM's Exploitative Politics

LoveGenderThe National Black Justice Coalition has released a statement about the leaked memos proving the National Organization for Marriage tried to pit black people and gay people against one another to weaken the marriage equality movement.

"These documents expose NOM for what it really is - a hate group determined to use African American faith leaders as pawns to push their damaging agenda and as mouthpieces to amplify that hatred," said NBJC's Executive Director Sharon Lettman-Hicks. "NOM is fighting a losing battle. With these memos made public, the black faith community must refuse to be exploited and refuse to deny their fellow brothers and sisters equal protections under the law."

Lettman-Hicks' comments come just after NAACP President Benjamin Jealous called NOM's tactics an "artificial wedge:" "This memo only reveals the limits of a cynical agenda. The truth is that no group, no matter how well-funded, can drive an artificial wedge between our communities. People of color understand what it is like to be the target of discrimination."


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