N.C. NAACP president says group works to 'ensure rights of all persons'
RALEIGH, N.C. — The president of the North Carolina chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) released a lengthy open letter yesterday outlining his group’s opposition to a proposed anti-LGBT state constitutional amendment that seeks to ban marriage, civil unions, domestic parnterships and other relationship recognition for same-sex couples.
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, said the state NAACP stands opposed to the amendment on the grounds that it will enshrine discrimination into the constitution, a move he said is unprecedented and runs counter to the spirit of the Civil Rights Movement.
“Our mission for 102 years, has been to achieve equality of rights and eliminate prejudice among the people of the United States,” Barber wrote. “The NAACP has always opposed any custom, tradition, practice, law or constitutional amendment that denies any right to any person.”
Barber said the NAACP has not taken a position on marriage for same-sex couples. “However,” Barber continued, “the NAACP has a long history of opposing any proposal that would alter the federal or state constitutions for the purpose of excluding any group or individuals from guarantees of equal protection under the law. Our opposition is based on our mission statement which calls for the ‘equality of rights of all persons.’”
The group’s leader also addressed African-American voters and asked them to stand opposed to the amendment.
“No matter how you feel personally about same-sex marriage, no one, especially those of us whose forebearers were denied constitutional protections and counted as 3/5ths of a vote for their slave-masters and mere chattel property for other purposes in the old Constitutions-none of us should ever want to deny any other person constitutional protections,” Barber wrote.
Barber’s letter follows attempts by Republican legislative leaders and national hate groups to garner support from African-American Tar Heels. On Tuesday, House Majority Leader Rep. Paul Stam (R-Wake) and Speaker Pro Tem Rep. Dale Folwell (R-Forsyth) held a press conference immediately following one in which Democratic lawmakers announced their opposition to the amendment. Stam’s and Folwell’s press conference included several African-American pastors who said the constitutional amendment was a moral issue. This week, several radio ads were also unveiled by the Washington, D.C.-based hate group Family Research Council. The ads targeting African-American lawmakers feature Pastor Patrick L. Wooden, Sr., of Raleigh’s Upper Room Church of God in Christ, one of the minister’s present at the Republican press conference earlier this week.