The board approved the resolution on May 21—on the heels of President Obama’s endorsement of same sex marriage—despite the fact that the issue wasn’t even on the NAACP’s formal agenda.
“Clearly it’s an evolving conversation,” said Chairwoman Roslyn Brock. It may not have been on a formal agenda, but she believed that it was certainly a relevant issue of civil rights. “Some may never be able to come to terms with the resolution, and that’s fine,” she added.
The NAACP decided to support same sex marriage on the grounds that marriage equality is guaranteed by the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.
Head of the Indiana NAACP Barbara Bolling said that the resolution created debate right away in her state. It even forced one of her branch’s presidents to quit. “It’s an emotional thing, it really is,” Bolling said.
A minister who led the NAACP chapter in Schenectady, N.Y. also resigned, as did National Board member Rev. Keith Ratliff Sr., who has always been the organization’s most prominent and outspoken member when it came to opposing same sex marriage.