Although Bond’s colleagues say that he describes himself as a “full-time Florida property owner and part-time Florida resident,” his anti-marriage amendment stance may be based on both civil rights concerns and partisan politics.
Whatever the reason, Bond’s refusal to protect the black family is a dereliction of duty. His personal example has spoken very loudly to local NAACP chapters and they have picked up his pro-gay stance on marriage. In fact Adoraobi Nweze, president of Florida's NAACP, told the Baptist Witness in a Sept. 20 interview that the local chapter had voted to oppose the marriage amendment. This means that the NAACP will openly fight against defining marriage as being exclusively a union between a man and a woman. As a result of this decision, the NAACP has joined other local pro-gay rights groups in a powerful ground war in Florida. Black pastors report that NAACP operatives have attempted to minimize the magnitude of the marital crisis that exists in the Black community.
The organization has allegedly written letters and made telephone calls asking leaders to avoid pastor gatherings and rallies sponsored by the High Impact Leadership Coalition (an organization that I lead). My organization, on the other hand, is aware that blacks, whites, and Hispanic Christians have to unify because a 60% vote is necessary to pass a Florida marriage amendment. Therefore, we have worked tirelessly to host leadership summits and rallies in Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, Ft. Lauderdale, and Miami.
Bond and other gay rights advocates believe that defeating pro-marriage efforts this election cycle in all three amendment battlegrounds will result in same sex marriage becoming the defacto law of the entire nation in two or three years. Therefore, millions of dollars of contributions have been sunk into the their efforts in all three states.
The Florida battle becomes even more significant because recent legal developments in Connecticut. Last Friday a Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that same sex couples have a constitutional right to be married. The court struck down the state’s civil union law. With this act of judicial intervention, Connecticut becomes the third state that has legalized gay marriage. The timing of this high court decision makes one wonder whether it was politically motivated. Perhaps the judges wanted to declare the inevitability of same sex marriage becoming the law of the land, expecting pro-family groups to raise the white flag of surrender in this battle for the definition of marriage.
While some traditional marriage advocates around the nation may give up, the majority of social conservatives will be emboldened to fight even harder against same sex marriage.
In conclusion, let me encourage every reader to contact both local and national leaders of the NAACP. Let’s let them know that marriage is a sacred institution that must be vigilantly protected.
Bishop Harry Jackson is chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD, and co-authored, Personal Faith, Public Policy [FrontLine; March 2008] with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.