ORLANDO – Just days after President Barack Obama announced his support for marriage equality, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization reiterated its own support for gay marriage and other LGBT rights as civil rights. NAACP President Benjamin Jealous said that “It’s the responsibility and history of the NAACP to speak up on the civil rights issues of our times. The NAACP now firmly opposes all efforts to restrict marriage equality.”
Jealous’ words echo similar sentiments to those of Julian Bond, a past NAACP board chairman, who also spoke strongly in favor of the resolution of the NAACP board of directors to endorse same sex unions. The resolution read in part, “We support marriage equality consistent with equal protection under the law provided under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.”
But both Bond and Jealous know that the strongly evangelical nature of most African American churches— which interpret the Bible as the true word of God—have previously stood in the way of alliances between LGBT rights activists and black pastors, whose Bibles describe homosexual behavior as an “abomination.” Surveys show that 62 percent of American blacks oppose marriage equality, while more than half of all Americans support it.