Less than two weeks after President Barack Obama announced his public support for gay marriage, a prominent African-American civil rights organization is following suit.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's board of directors voted to endorse gay marriage on Saturday, according to a tweet from NAACP officer Maxim Thorne.
Metro Weekly procured the full resolution from the 64-member unit, which is highlighted by an affirmation of the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause:
"The NAACP Constitution affirmatively states our objective to ensure the 'political, education, 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 decision comes at a time where diverse opinions on same-sex marriage are present within black churches. Following Obama's announcement, Bishop Timothy Clarke of the First Church of God in Columbus, Ohio, summed up his congregation's mixed feelings on the issue.
"No church or group is monolithic," Clarke told USA Today. "Some were powerfully agitated and disappointed. Others were curious -- why now? to what end? Others were hurt. And others, to be honest, told me it's not an issue and they don't have a problem with it."
From the government end of the spectrum, dozens of politicians have paralleled Obama's words since the May 9 announcement. GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney stands on the other side of the issue, telling KETV-TV on May 10 that "as a society, I think we're better off if we encourage the establishment of homes with a mother and a father."
UPDATE (5:15 p.m. ET): National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey released a statement acclaiming the NAACP's decision as a "truly historic moment." More from Carey:
"We are proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with the NAACP working together on the many issues that affect all of our lives. Whether it be fair access to education and jobs, an end to voter suppression and racial profiling, the right to love and be who we are free of discrimination -- these issues affect all of us, our families and our country. Today the NAACP did what it does so well -- inspires and affirms our common humanity."
UPDATE (10:15 p.m. ET): In an official statement, NAACP President & CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous and Chairman of the Board of Directors Roslyn M. Brock commented on Saturday's resolution in favor of gay marriage.
“Civil marriage is a civil right and a matter of civil law," Jealous said. "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."
“The mission of the NAACP has always been to ensure the political, social and economic equality of all people,” Brock added. “We have and will oppose efforts to codify discrimination into law.”
Below, a slideshow of politicians' reactions to Obama's support of same-sex marriage:
"I believe marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman," Mitt Romney said.
"This is a major turning point in the history of American civil rights," said New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. "No American president has ever supported a major expansion of civil rights that has not ultimately been adopted by the American people - and I have no doubt that this will be no exception. The march of freedom that has sustained our country since the Revolution of 1776 continues, and no matter what setbacks may occur in a given state, freedom will triumph over fear and equality will prevail over exclusion. Today's announcement is a testament to the President's convictions, and it builds on the courageous stands that so many Americans have taken over the years on behalf of equal rights for gay and lesbian Americans, stretching back to the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village."
"I applaud President Obama for announcing his support for marriage equality today," said Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) "For the first time in this nation's history, a sitting president has shown the courage and leadership to stand up for all American families by pledging to support the fundamental right of every person to marry the person they love, and to have that marriage fully respected. I commend President Obama for this brave and honest step. Those who seek to politicize civil rights for personal or political gain will certainly attack him, but the course toward marriage equality and justice is the correct and inevitable path."
"I'm thrilled!" longshot GOP presidential candidate Fred Karger told HuffPost, referring to Obama's embrace of marriage equality. Karger is the first openly gay Republican or Democrat to run for president. "The Karger pressure has worked," he joked. "Particularly after the defeat in North Carolina, we welcome him to the full equality position."
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen
Senator Chris Coons
"I have been blessed to have a long and happy marriage. I strongly believe all Americans deserve that same opportunity," said Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.)
"While President Obama has played politics on this issue, the Republican Party and our presumptive nominee Mitt Romney have been clear. We support maintaining marriage between one man and one woman and would oppose any attempts to change that," said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Christine C. Quinn
"Barack Obama just announced he supports same-sex marriage," Mike Huckabee wrote in a fundraising appeal to supporters. "Nancy Pelosi immediately jumped on the announcement and emailed Democrat activists nationwide promising to continue their fight. This is going to be a defining issue this election. Obama, Pelosi and the Democrats have been a complete failure on economic issues so now they are going to focus on issues that will rile up their base. Well, Mr. President it's going to rile up our folks also. Men and women who support traditional marriage."
Rep. Bill Taylor
"President Obama's support for marriage equality marks an important moment for civil rights in America," said Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ), who co-sponsored legislation that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). "We simply can not treat same sex couples as second-class citizens in our country. Marriage equality is one of the most significant civil rights battles of our time and is critical to guaranteeing the equal protection under the law promised to every American in the Constitution. The President's support for marriage equality should inspire Congress, Governors and state legislatures to advance civil rights for all Americans."
Ann McLane Kuster
Sen. Patrick Leahy
"This is an historic moment and I applaud the President for his decision and courage," Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) said. "One of the greatest and most liberating human emotions is acceptance. And what the President did today was accept that the quality of love two people share is more important than their gender. The President's decision required him look within and engage his heart. It is truly wonderful and welcome news."
Senator Patty Murray
"As an early and strong proponent of Marriage Equality, I am very happy that President Obama has made this announcement," said Rep. Steve Rothman (D-N.J.) "Marriage Equality is a matter of basic human rights and all of America's same-sex families are now closer to having their unions recognized by our government. This is an important step in our country's march toward achieving true justice and equality for all."
"President Obama's public support for marriage equality is an historic affirmation of the fundamental American value of equal rights for all," said Howard Dean. "Having signed the nation's first law allowing Civil Unions as Governor of Vermont, I'm also proud to see our president affirm the belief that I and so many other Americans hold: loving and committed couples should have the same benefits that are extended through marriage. Marriage equality is a right and a benefit to all families."
Senator Ben Cardin
Sen. Barbara Boxer
Senator Dick Durbin