NAACP Chairman Roslyn Brock Statement on Marriage Equality

As you now know, on Saturday, May 19th, our Board passed a resolution in support of marriage equality.

The NAACP is an historic organization which 103 years ago set on a path to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of all people.  As Board members, we take the responsibility to guide this organization seriously.  One of the crucial roles we play is to ensure that our mission which helped define America in the last century continues to be implemented in this our Association’s second century.

When people ask why the NAACP stands firmly for marriage equality, we say that we have always stood against laws which demean, dehumanize, or discriminate against any person in this great country.  That is our legacy.  For over 103 years we have stood against such laws, and while the nature of the struggle may change, our bedrock commitment to equality of all people under the law never will.

One of the NAACP’s greatest leaders, Ella Baker, described this when she said and I quote: “Remember, we are not fighting for the freedom of the Negro alone, but for the freedom of the human spirit a larger freedom that encompasses all mankind.”

We live in a democracy.  And in our democracy we have the benefit of a Constitution which defines the equal rights which we all share and to which we as a nation aspire.  Because the text of our Constitution is so beautiful, let me share just a few simple clear words of the Fourteenth Amendment which says in part that no state “shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”  Marriage Equality is just that, the right to be treated equally in the eyes of the government.

The NAACP did not issue its support of marriage equality from a personal, moral, or religious perspective. Rather, we deeply respect differences of personal conscience on the religious definition of marriage, and we strongly affirm the religious freedoms of all as protected by the First Amendment. 

As the nation's leading civil rights organization, it is not our role or intent to express how any place of worship should act in its own house.  We have not done so in the past and will not do so In the future. This history and commitment to separation of church and state continues as we stand for equality -- marriage equality – under the law.

Thank you.