Black Clergy Challenge NAACP On Same-Sex Marriage

A coalition of black pastors and clergy are rallying in protest of the NAACP's recent endorsement of same-sex marriage. The pastors say the organization's stance on gay marriage indicates a drift from its core mission and does not reflect the beliefs of its members.

 

On May 9th, President Barack Obama voiced his support of same-sex marriages in an interview with ABC News.

"At a certain point, I've just concluded that for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married."

Ten days later, the NAACP announced its endorsement of marriage equality for homosexual couples.

Pastor William Owens is the founder and president of The Coalition of African-American Pastors, and a long-time civil rights leader. He says the NAACP's position is far from its founding purpose.

"The attention of the NAACP should be placed on the many challenges facing the African-American community: gangs, teen pregnancy, poverty, violence and the fact that more black men are in prison than in college."

A number of ministers from Houston joined Owens to speak out against the resolution. Pastor Jerry Martin with Light of the World Christian Fellowship says the NAACP is wrong to label same-sex marriage as a civil right.

"There are laws on our books currently that prevent people from marrying each other. For instance, you can't marry your sister, a father can't marry his daughter, a mother can't marry her son. So there are already laws that say people can't marry one another."

A few blocks away at the NAACP convention, many attendees didn't agree with the clergy's stance on the issue, saying as a civil
rights organization the NAACP should stand up for the rights of all people.

"Me personally, I don't agree with same-sex marriages. But I do believe every individual has a right to feel the way that they would like to feel. Nobody should make a person feel a certain way towards whatever sex or gender that they care for."

"My thoughts is this is America, it's a free country, they should be allowed that privilege if they like it. I'm not for that same-sex marriage, but as an individual they should be allowed that if that's what they want. We are in America."

As for the black pastors, they say this is a moral issue, not an issue of political correctness.

 The group plans to hold rallies in swing states like Ohio, Florida and Virginia in an attempt to put voting pressure on Congress and President Obama.

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Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...