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NAACP Stance On Gay Marriage Leads to National Board Member Resignations

Rev. Ratliff

The decision by the National Board of the NAACP to endorse same sex marriage has caused several local officers as well as members of the National Board to resign.

The board approved the resolution on May 21—on the heels of President Obama’s endorsement of same sex marriage—despite the fact that the issue wasn’t even on the NAACP’s formal agenda.

“Clearly it’s an evolving conversation,” said Chairwoman Roslyn Brock. It may not have been on a formal agenda, but she believed that it was certainly a relevant issue of civil rights. “Some may never be able to come to terms with the resolution, and that’s fine,” she added.

The NAACP decided to support same sex marriage on the grounds that marriage equality is guaranteed by the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.

Head of the Indiana NAACP Barbara Bolling said that the resolution created debate right away in her state. It even forced one of her branch’s presidents to quit. “It’s an emotional thing, it really is,” Bolling said.

A minister who led the NAACP chapter in Schenectady, N.Y. also resigned, as did National Board member Rev. Keith Ratliff Sr., who has always been the organization’s most prominent and outspoken member when it came to opposing same sex marriage.

“The deviant behavior is not the same thing as being denied the right to vote because of the color of one’s skin,” Ratliff said at the Iowa state house last year after the state passed a law that allowed for same sex marriage. “Gay community: Stop hijacking the civil rights movement,” he said as his audience cheered. Ratliff did tell NPR that he had to pray about staying with the organization or not. He made the decision to resign after acknowledging that the NAACP is based on faith, and according to Ratliff same sex marriage did not fall in line with that faith.

C.C. Carter, a long time member and contributor to the NAACP, agreed that the struggles of the gay community do not compare to the struggles that African Americans faced, but she said that it was wrong for Ratliff to discount the roles of gays and lesbians in the civil rights movements. Bayard Rustin, a gay African American male, was one of the main organizers of the 1963 March on Washington.

It is still unclear if the organization will tackle other issues with sexual orientation besides same sex marriage, but several members did admit that same sex marriage isn’t very high on their priority list.

What people are saying

8 thoughts on “NAACP Stance On Gay Marriage Leads to National Board Member Resignations

  1. Jerry Heger says:

    Please note that the Iowa Legislature DID NOT pass a law to legalize same sex marriage. In actuality, the Iowa Supreme Court STRUCK DOWN a DOMA-type state law, which paved the way for same sex marriages to begin in late April 2009.

  2. Alexander Stream says:

    Leave it to a group of people that have been, and still is, very suppressed in society to actively work towards the suppression of another group. It's disgusting to me how quickly these people forget their own history.

  3. Jeff Eletto says:

    Wow, you should read all the ignorant anti Gay comments from all the religious zealots on that page..

  4. Roger Acosta says:


  5. I think I remember that some religous people thought that africans were decended from Cain and therefore deviant. More reasons why I am now an atheist.

  6. Paul Hodgson says:

    They forget how it was for them back then, they fought for equal rights for all, and yet deny others of that same right….shame on you! Religion always gets in the way of the truth.

  7. David Hart says:

    An emotional Ben Jealous said that similar laws would have kept his parents from marrying. In the criminal trial that was the predicate for Loving v Virginia, the judge said, FROM THE BENCH:

    "Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix."

    Oh, but the gay – that's DIFFERENT! Really? People are free to believe as they choose. My grandmother thought that the consumption of pork was an abomination. When one seeks to impose their religious beliefs on society, by force of law, they have to deal with me and millions like me who will remind them that our Constitution's First Amendment begins with the Establishment Clause.

  8. good glad the haters are gone its shameful they have such short memories of what it is like to be discriminated we can move toward the future and freedoom for ALL people.

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