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:
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