BALTIMORE (WJZ)—The NAACP passed a resolution this weekend to support marriage equality as part of its commitment to equal protection under the law.

Political reporter Pat Warren has more on why the group is taking this position.

The resolution comes from the national organization headquartered here in Baltimore.

Members of the NAACP held a news conference Monday morning.

“We live in a democracy, and in our democracy we have the benefit of a constitution, which defines equal rights which we all share,” said Rosyln M. Brock, NAACP board chairman.

Same-sex marriage supporters believe that includes an equal right to marry.

“Same-sex couples want the same things as everybody else,” said a supporter.

The language of the resolution mirrors the bill passed in Maryland in that it supports same-sex marriage and religious freedom.

It reads in part, “We support marriage equality consistent with equal protection under the law provided under the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution.  Further, we strongly affirm the religious freedoms of all people as protected by the First Amendment.”

“It is the responsibility, history of the NAACP, to speak up on the civil rights issues of our times,” said Benjamin Jealous, NAACP President.

The future of same-sex marriage in Maryland is likely to be decided in a November referendum. The Maryland Marriage Alliance, which supports traditional marriage, continues to collect signatures on a petition that puts the question to voters.

Spokesman Derek McCoy tells WJZ he expects voters to reject same-sex marriage in Maryland. He says the announcement will help his cause.

“We know numbers. We know what the state is like. We know the demographics. We’ve seen the numbers in the state. We’re confident we can win the state of Maryland, not a question,” McCoy said.

The supporters of same-sex marriage say the NAACP endorsement reflects a momentum in the African-American community to support stronger families and protect children.

African-American voters could play a key role in the outcome of Maryland’s expected referendum.

The first batch of petitions is due in to the Board of Elections May 31. They will be turning them in two days early on May 29. All 55,000 signatures must be turned in by the end of June.


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