Today the nation’s oldest civil rights organization, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) passed a resolution endorsing same sex marriage as a civil right. The vote was taken by the Board of Directors at its second quarterly meeting in Miami.
This vote comes on the heels of President Obama’s announcement last week that he personally believed same sex couples should have the right to marry. The president’s personal views on this topic were met with consternation in African American pulpits and sanctuaries last Sunday.
The bewilderment felt in the Black Church simmered and boiled all week and had some questioning whether President Obama could hold the Black vote together in sufficient numbers to gain a second term in office.
The New York Times reports the NAACP vote was 62-2. The resolution reads:
"We support marriage equality consistent with equal protection under the law provided under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.”
Interestingly, the United States’ Supreme Court has never ruled that sexual preference is a protected class under the federal constitution.
Roslyn M. Brock, chairwoman of the NAACP Board, issued a written statement that in part said, “We have and will oppose efforts to codify discrimination into law.”
Apparently the NAACP is attempting to head off efforts by some conservative groups who are pushing for a constitutional amendment to prohibit same sex marriage.
The resolution was careful not to offend black church leaders who represent the strongest opposition to same sex marriage among blacks who oppose this issue.
Since polling data shows that black Democrats are mostly likely not to support same sex marriage, it puts a second Obama term in jeopardy.
It is no secret that the NAACP would rather see a second term for President Obama than the prospects of a Romney presidency replete with austerity measures as a means to an economic boom.
The NAACP has a Director of Religious Affairs, Rev. Julius C. Hope. He did not attend the Board meeting because the Religious Affairs office is a Staff position which does not have Board status.
Hope said he is studying the religious implications of same sex marriage and will soon issue a report to President Ben Jealous.
“The main thing,” Hope said, “we can’t get distracted from the main issues confronting the country. God will sort out your sins and my sins at the appropriate time.”
Newly installed President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) Rev. Dr. C. T. Vivian said his organization does not plan to weigh into this issue because SCLC has many problems of its own.
“We do not plan to and actually we do not want to get involved in this issue because we have so many internal issues and we do not need to get distracted in this fight which could prevent us from getting strong enough to fight the cause of civil rights in the future,” Rev. Vivian said.
He said that SCLC is focused on a voters registration drive this summer designed to deliver hundred of thousands of voters in this falls general election.
Vivian, a noted biblical scholar, when pushed made it clear he was not speaking on behalf of SCLC; then stated: “I do not agree with same sex marriage as a civil right, but as a human right. I can not see stopping people from having relationships that have been going on for thousands of years.”