The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) released a resolution on May 19 supporting marriage equality. At a meeting of the 103-year old civil rights group’s board of directors, the organization voted to support marriage equality as a continuation of its historic commitment to equal protection under the law.
Below is the text of the resolution passed by the NAACP board of directors:
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.
NAACP Chairman Roslyn Brock released a statement which said, in part:
When people ask why the NAACP stands firmly for marriage equality, we say that we have always stood against laws which demean, dehumanize, or discriminate against any person in this great country. That is our legacy. For over 103 years we have stood against such laws, and while the nature of the struggle may change, our bedrock commitment to equality of all people under the law never will.
One of the NAACP’s greatest leaders, Ella Baker, described this when she said and I quote: “Remember, we are not fighting for the freedom of the Negro alone, but for the freedom of the human spirit a larger freedom that encompasses all mankind.”
NAACP President & CEO Benjamin Todd expressed his sentiments as well.
As marriage equality has expanded to an ever increasing number of states, other states have taken to once again enshrining discrimination in their Constitutions. At the same time, Members of Congress have taken again to using budget votes and other tricks to restrict marriage equality.
We want to be on record that the NAACP now firmly opposes all efforts to restrict marriage equality. We will oppose threats to the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee of equal rights under the law in any state where this issue is raised.
And we will follow our historic mission to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of all persons. This means that we will oppose all efforts by Members of Congress or any Administration to enshrine discrimination in the laws of our great country.
The NAACP has addressed civil rights with regard to marriage since Loving v. Virginia declared anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional in 1967. In recent years the NAACP has taken public positions against state and federal efforts to ban the rights and privileges for LGBT citizens, including strong opposition to Proposition 8 in California, the Defense of Marriage Act, and most recently, North Carolina’s Amendment 1, which changed the state constitution’s to prohibit same sex marriage.