(MIAMI) — The NAACP made waves on Saturday evening when its board of directors voted to support same-sex marriage, releasing a statement that “civil marriage is a civil right and a matter of civil law” and citing the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution as a reason for backing marriage equality.
“The mission of the NAACP has always been to ensure the political, social and economic equality of all people,” said Roslyn M. Brock, chairman of the NAACP’s board of directors, in a statement. “We have and will oppose efforts to codify discrimination into law.”
“The NAACP’s support for marriage equality is deeply rooted in the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution and equal protection of all people,” said Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, in a statement.
The announcement from the civil rights organization arrived on the heels of President Barack Obama’s own recent statement in support of same-sex marriage in the U.S.
The African-American community has been slow to warm to the idea of same-sex marriage, but the NAACP’s statement on Saturday, when paired with recent endorsements by President Obama and rapper Jay-Z, could indicate that the tide in the black community is flowing in the direction of marriage equality.
In an ABC News/Washington Post poll following President Obama’s announcement of his support for same-sex marriage, 54 percent of African-Americans agreed with him. But in similar polls in mid-2011 and early 2012, just 41 percent of African-Americans took the same stance.
Prior to issuing the blanket statement in support of marriage equality, the NAACP had opposed legislation that would prevent same-sex marriage, including California’s Proposition 8 and North Carolina’s Amendment 1.
NAACP made its proclamation from a Miami, Fla.-based gathering of its board of directors, where only two board members expressed opposition to same-sex marriage, according to a tweet from NAACP senior vice president for development Maxim Thorne.
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation issued a glowing statement following NAACP’s announcement, saying, “We applaud President Ben Jealous and the NAACP Board of Directors for their leadership on this issue.”
GLAAD President Herndon Graddick said in a statement: “Across races, faith traditions, and political persuasions, a majority of our culture recognizes that denying gay couples the chance at happiness that comes with being married is unfair and un-American.”
Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker also tweeted his support of the NAACP’s position, writing, “‘Arc of the universe is long but it bends toward justice’ RT @dawnnozziwitter: It’s on NAACP website under press release WOOHOO! About time!”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Ray Sanchez, CNN Newswire
Chuck Johnston, CNN Newswire