Last Saturday, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) — the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization — passed an historic resolution in support of marriage equality at a meeting of the group’s board of directors in Miami, Florida. In a press release announcing the decision, the organization described Saturday’s vote as “a continuation of its historic commitment to equal protection under the law.”
Importantly, the release made emphatic reference to marriage equality as a basic civil right (making those of us, including NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Jealous, who’ve been making that case for a long time very happy indeed). Said Jealous, “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.” Board Chairman Roslyn Brock added, “We have and will oppose efforts to codify discrimination into law.”
As Saturday’s release notes, the NAACP has been consistently supportive of the LGBT community in recent years, making public statements in opposition to the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act,” Proposition 8 in California, and Amendment 1 in North Carolina.
All but two of the board’s 64 members, including many religious leaders, voted in favor of the historic resolution, which comes on the heels of recent pro-marriage equality statements from President Barack Obama and hip-hop mogul Jay-Z. These developments, combined with recent reports indicating sizable support for marriage equality among African Americans, show just how far out of touch anti-gay groups like the National Organization for Marriage — which infamously sought to use the marriage equality issue to “drive a wedge between gays and blacks — really are.