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NAACP Board of Directors Votes to Support Marriage Equality

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Today the board of directors of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) passed a resolution supporting marriage equality.

"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."

GLAAD responded to the resolution:

"For more than 103 years, the NAACP has been a leading advocate and a voice for members of marginalized communities. Today’s announcement represents their continued stance against the discrimination that LGBT families face. We applaud President Ben Jealous and the NAACP Board of Directors for their leadership on this issue," said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. "Across races, faith traditions, and political persuasions, a majority of our culture recognizes that denying gay couples the chance at happiness that comes with being married is unfair and un-American.”

The NAACP’s recent statement affirming same-sex couples reflects the latest data polling data that shows a significant increase in support for marriage equality among African Americans.

  • This week, an ABC News/Washington Post poll found that since President Obama declared his support of marriage equality, “54 percent express a favorable view of his position on the issue,” compared to “just 41 percent of African-Americans supported gay marriage in ABC/Post polls in mid-2011 and early 2012.”
  • A Public Policy Polling survey found “a noticeable shift in the attitudes of African Americans in North Carolina toward rights for gay couples in the wake of President Obama’s announcement.
  • A NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released in March 2012 showed support for marriage equality among African Americans at 50 percent.
  • A Field Poll of California voters released in February 2012 found that 53 percent of Latino and 50 percent of African-American respondents approved of allowing same-sex couples to marry.

A Gallup poll released this month found that for the second time in the organization’s history, half of Americans support marriage equality.

Last week, GLAAD joined “NoWedge 2012: A Memo to Black America,” a movement among Black civil rights and faith leaders in response to anti-LGBT tactics to “drive a wedge between gays and Blacks” as first reported by the Human Rights Campaign. Launching at Covenant Baptist Church in Washington, DC, the Black community and faith leaders issued a national declaration regarding the need for an organized, unified response to combat attempts steered at creating tensions with Black and LGBT communities.

“Black faith and community leaders feel the urgency to get in front of the dialogue and fight any conservative tactics to “divide and conquer.” Our community is sophisticated enough to hold nuanced positions on marriage equality and yet be unified in embracing progressive values that benefit the life and well-being of Black America,” said Pastor Joseph W. Tolton of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries.

The number of Black faith leaders, activists and public figures who support President Obama’s position on marriage equality continues to grow. After Obama’s historic announcement, Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Will Smith and Jay-Z all voiced support. In an interview with CNN, Jay-Z referred to Obama’s position as “the right thing to do as a human being,” he went on to say, “It’s discrimination, plain and simple.”

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