NAACP endorses marriage equality as a civil right

One of the first non-LGBT organizations to come out in opposition to Prop 8 was the California chapter of the NAACP.  Today, the national NAACP has endorsed full marriage equality. The NAACP Board of Directors passed the following resolution in Miami, FL:
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.
This is a really, really big deal. No group speaks with more clarity on matters of civil rights - whether contemporarily popular or not - than the NAACP. NAACP's endorsement adds new wind to the sail of marriage equality. It, more than almost any other argument, confirms what the LGBT rights movement has sought to affirm: the right to civil marriage - a contract commonly available to all other couples - is a matter of civil rights. The fourteenth amendment requires equal protection (and application) of the laws - including laws regarding marriage - to all people.

The step taken by NAACP today is also a rebuke against those who seek to divide our communities. The pro-hate movement has long sought to pit blacks and other people of color against gays. When those of us who are gay people of color want to come out, we not only have to deal with the usual difficulties of coming out to our families, we often also have to face a stigma of a unique sort: the myth that being gay is a 'white' thing. As though we have to make a choice - a choice between our rich ethnic heritage and who we love. To this day, hate-filled organizations are attempting to convince communities of color that when one of their kids is gay, that's an attack on their heritage.

Today, the NAACP answered them. And with that answer, they have given hope to hundreds of thousands of young, gay teenagers who happen to be Black, Latino, Asian or of another minority. They have given hope to countless gay adults of color.

But the NAACP has not just answered the hate-filled monsters who seek to divide our communities. They have affirmed the very essence of this country: that in America, everybody counts. Black, white, Asian, Latino, native American, men and women and transgender people, straight and gay, immigrant and native born. In America, our destiny is bound together, and we can only stand up and sing about the land of the free when all of us are included in that freedom.

Thank you, NAACP.

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