At its annual meeting in Miami on May 19, 2012, the 64 member board of directors of the 103 year old NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) passed a resolution to support same-sex marriage closely on the heels of President Obama's and Vice President Biden's support of the same.
This move further debunks the myth that black folks are more homophobic than anyone else.The resolution stated:
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."
Julian Bond, former chairman of the NAACP said that the President's support of same-sex marriage was a "tipping point" for many board members according to the New York Times. "This proves that conventional wisdom is not true" he added.
Yet according to a recent poll 36 percent of black Democrats support legalizing same-sex marriage versus 61 percent of white Democrats.
Maxim Thorne, formerly with the NAACP said " for certain people, it was a very long evolution and a very long process of reconciling their faith with this, and coming to a very civil rights understanding of marriage equality versus a theological understanding of marriage"
"The mission of the NAACP has always been to ensure the political, social and economic equality of all people," said Roslyn M. Brock, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the NAACP. "We have and will oppose efforts to codify discrimination into law."
"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." said Benjamin Todd Jealous, President and CEO of the NAACP.
The NAACP supported Loving v. Virginia and opposed Proposition 8 in California as well as the Defense of Marriage Act and the recent referendum in North California to ban same-sex unions and marriages. There are 1200 local branches of the NAACP, some say they are not in line with the national organization but the North Carolina branch also opposed the NC referendum.
Perhaps the key to this battle is to position the issue as supporting equality and the constitution versus any interpretation of religion.