By Hazel Trice Edney
NAACP Chairman Roslyn Brock
(TriceEdneyWire.com) - The NAACP has made its position clear on “marriage equality” – the right of same gendered people to marry each other. The national board of the 103-year-old civil rights group met on Saturday, May 19, and released a resolution in support of same-sex marriage nearly two weeks after President Obama announced the same position.
“At a meeting of the 103-year old civil rights group's board of directors, the organization voted to support marriage equality as a continuation of its historic commitment to equal protection under the law,” said a press release.
It quotes Board Chairman Roslyn Brock as saying: "The mission of the NAACP has always been to ensure the political, social and economic equality of all people…We have and will oppose efforts to codify discrimination into law."
Benjamin Todd Jealous, NAACP President and CEO underscored the organizations position.
"Civil marriage is a civil right and a matter of civil law. The NAACP's support for marriage equality is deeply rooted in the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution and equal protection of all people."
Despite division among Black clerical leaders on the issue, the NAACP’s position comes as no surprise. NAACP Chairman Emeritus Julian Bond was one of four signatures on an open letter to the civil rights community expressing support for President Obama’s position. The other signers were the Rev. Al Sharpton, civil rights icon Rev. Joseph Lowery and Melanie Campbell, president/CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation.
The history of the “marriage equality” issue is steeped in a historic case in which Virginia outlawed inter-racial marriage, said the NAACP release.
“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.”
“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 [Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgendered] 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...to prohibit same sex marriage.”
The resolution, issued by the board on Saturday, states as follows: