NAACP Board Endorses Marriage Equality in Miami …and a Majority of Florida Voters Oppose Gay Marriage (But Say it won’t Affect Their Votes)
By Cliff Dunn
MIAMI – In a week where the national conversation continued to focus upon same sex marriage, much of that conversation was focused on events occurring here in Florida. During its annual meeting last weekend in Miami, the board of directors of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) voted in favor of a resolution to support marriage equality for LGBT Americans. The endorsement of the nation’s oldest and most prominent civil rights organization came barely a week after President Obama publicly announced his support for gay marriage, and is seen as a show of solidarity for the group with the nation’s first African American chief executive. Sources say that all but two of the board’s 64 members voted for the resolution, which read in part, “We support marriage equality consistent with equal protection under the law provided under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.” Roslyn M. Brock, chairwoman of the NAACP board, said in a statement, “We have and will oppose efforts to codify discrimination into law.”
According to Julian Bond, the former NAACP chairman and a lion of the 1960s civil rights movement (he was also the first President of the Southern Poverty Law Center), the “tipping point” for many board members was Obama’s televised announcement in support of marriage equality for gay Americans.
Bond also noted that the NAACP’s vote dispels the notion of purported opposition within the African American community towards gay marriage. “This proves that conventional wisdom is not true,” said Bond.
While the cultural reverberations of the NAACP board’s actions were starting to be felt, a new Quinnipiac poll of Florida voters this week indicates that a majority oppose marriage equality.
The survey results, which were released yesterday, show that 50 percent of Sunshine State voters oppose same-sex marriage, and 40 percent support it. Those numbers become less gloomy when a third option—civil unions—is introduced into the equation, with 36 percent of Florida voters saying that same-sex couples should be permitted to marry, another 34 percent supporting legal unions other than marriage for gay couples, and 23 percent saying that no legal recognition should be afforded same sex relationships. In 2008, Florida passed an amendment to the state constitution that defines marriage as union between a man and a woman. Seen in the light of the survey results, the question of President Obama’s recent support of same sex marriage having an impact on how voters will cast their ballots has a surprising answer: 63 percent say Obama’s support for marriage equality will make no difference as to how they cast their vote, and 59 percent said that Republican Mitt Romney’s opposition to civil unions will also not be a factor. The Quinnipiac poll also showed Romney beating Obama in Florida, 46 percent to 41 percent.