On Monday, the NAACP held a press conference confirming their historic support in the fight for marriage equality in Maryland on this year’s ballot. President and CEO Benjamin Jealous spoke alongside Maryland NAACP President Gerald Stansbury and other Maryland leaders at the organization’s Baltimore headquarters on affirming their stance on Question 6, which would legalize marriage equality in the state.
Jealous defended the religious protections of the legislation, saying “We’re pleased that Question 6 is very clear: This is about civil marriage. Question 6 goes on to be very clear that every church, every house of worship, every synagogue in the state can have faith that everything will be respected and protected not only by the U.S. Constitution but by Question 6 itself.”
Monday was also first day that Marylanders for Marriage Equality, the state’s equality coalition, began airing its ad featuring NAACP Chair Emeritus Julian Bond in the DC media market (the ad can be viewed online here).In the ad, Bond reiterates that the bill does not interfere with religious freedom, saying, “It’s about protecting the civil right to make a lifelong commitment to the person you love.” Reverend Dr. Todd Yeary of Baltimore’s Douglass Memorial Community Church joined in agreement, saying “I affirm the NAACP’s position that civil marriage is indeed a civil right,” he said. “This really is not a religious issue.”
The NAACP National Board of Directors took the initial step of endorsing equal marriage rights for gays and lesbians in May, and the Maryland chapter has been committed to passing Question 6 in the months leading up to the election by holding rallies, public service announcements, TV and radio appearances and live web chats.