The NAACP voted on Saturday to endorse same-sex marriage, placing the nation’s most influential black civil rights organization on a collision course with many African-American church leaders.
The decision by the group's board of directors was seen as a boon to President Barack Obama who announced his own support of same sex unions earlier this month.
“Civil marriage is a civil right and a matter of civil law,” NAACP president Benjamin Todd Jealous said in a statement after the vote. “The NAACP’s support for marriage equality is deeply rooted in the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution and equal protection of all people,” he added saying people who try to split African Americans on the subject “will not succeed.”
Surveys have consistently shown that blacks are uncomfortable with the idea of gay marriage and Republicans are likely to make Obama’s support a major issue in the fall election.
Many GOP activists believe that it could give them an opportunity to pick up votes among African Americans who supported Obama in 2008 by a huge margin.
A Washington Post poll in November found that 58 percent of blacks found gay marriage unacceptable, with only 35 percent saying it is acceptable. Support for the position in the general population is roughly 50/50, other polls have shown.
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