NAACP endorses gay marriage as ‘civil right’

The NAACP's board of directors on Saturday passed a resolution expressing support for same-sex marriage equality.

"The mission of the NAACP has always been to ensure the political, social and economic equality of all people," Roslyn M. Brock, the chairman of the NAACP's Board of Directors, said in a statement. “We have and will oppose efforts to codify discrimination into law.”

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“Civil marriage is a civil right and a matter of civil 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,” added the civil-rights group's President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous.

The NAACP had previously criticized measures to ban equal protections for gays and lesbians, opposing both Proposition 8 in California, which would have eliminated same-sex marriage rights and North Carolina's Amendment 1, which passed in a referendum earlier this month and defined marriage as a union between "man and woman."

Freedom to Marry praised the NAACP decision. "The NAACP has long been the nation's conscience and champion for an America where all share equally in the promise of liberty and justice for all," said Evan Wolfson, president of the pro-gay rights group in a statement. 


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"Today the NAACP resoundingly affirmed that the freedom to marry is a civil right and family value that belongs to all of us, and that discriminatory barriers to marriage must fall," Wolfson said.

The board's vote comes after President Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage earlier this month, becoming the first siting president to do so.

Some polls suggest that the decision may have been a risky political move for the president's re-election bid, as gay marriage is unpopular in many key swing states, including North Carolina. 

However, the move energized Obama's base, which had long pressured him to publicly announce his support for same-sex marriage. Shortly after his announcement, Obama raised $15 million in a fundraiser in Hollywood, hosted by actor George Clooney.

While many in the black community have opposed gay marriage in the past, political watchers believe few African-American voters will swing their support to presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney over the issue.