The Rev. Keith A. Ratliff Sr. (who resigned from his role as a NAACP national board member) repudiated the organization’s decision with a statement that resonates with many blacks: “There is not a parallel between the homosexual community and the struggles of African-Americans in our country. I haven’t seen any signs on any restrooms that say ‘For Homosexuals Only.’ Homosexuals do not have to sit on the back of the bus, as African-Americans had to.” Ratliff, therefore, concluded that “the gay rights movement” should not be compared with the civil rights movement.
In response to all of this, the NAACP has made it clear that there will be no discussion on this matter. Further, Chairwoman Roslyn Brock responded to the controversy by saying, “Some may never be able to come to terms with the resolution, and that's fine, but we hope they will evolve and stand firmly with us.”
The NAACP has failed the black community in two significant ways.
First of all, the legal rigor that made the organization effective and famous under Charles Hamilton Houston and Thurgood Marshall was not employed in this decision. Secondly, instead of leading the community in a mature discussion about this issue, the NAACP has stooped to name calling and hate mongering.
Let me explain. By suggesting that traditional marriage has anything to do with “hatred” against other groups, the NAACP is affirming nearly every slanderous accusation levied against traditional marriage supporters. Marriage law has and always will be, “discriminatory,” but that does not imply hatred. Brothers and sisters cannot marry, but that does not codify hatred of family. A man cannot marry four women at the same time, but that fact does not codify hatred of polygamists.
Furthermore, the NAACP’s statement explicitly connected the redefinition of marriage to the Fourteenth Amendment. The willingness of this renowned Civil Rights organization to suggest that homosexual marriage falls under the domain of Fourteenth Amendment protections lends credence to the deeply offensive notion that sexual behavior and race are comparable qualities.
It is also worth pointing out that the language of the resolution affirms the agenda, not just of homosexual couples, but of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) citizens. This undoubtedly opens the door for the NAACP to endorse all sorts of legislative goals for these various groups in the future. For example, all over the country, transgendered individuals have a long list of demands. In some areas of the country, biological males are already allowed to use women’s locker rooms and restrooms if they “consider themselves” to be female.
What makes the NAACP think that redefining marriage will have any positive affect whatsoever on the advancement of racial minorities?
The suffering of our ancestors under the yoke of slavery gives black Americans a unique ability to speak to the injustices of today. I am deeply grieved that the NAACP thinks it can use that moral authority to advance the LGBT agenda.
In conclusion, we need a national townhall among African Americans to discuss the direction of the civil rights movement. Until this happens, the NAACP “No longer speaks for me or millions of others.”
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.