NBJC Commends the NAACP’s Support of Marriage Equality

TransGriot Note: The press release from the National Black Justice Coalition concerning the NAACP resolution supporting marriage equality.

Yesterday the NAACP released
a resolution
supporting marriage equality. The organization’s board of
directors voted to support the freedom to marry as a continuation of its
commitment to equal protection under the law. The National Black Justice
Coalition (NBJC), the nation’s leading Black lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, commends the NAACP for this
historic step.

“As a Life
Member of the NAACP, I am happy to see the organization join the President of
the United States in ‘evolving’ and follow the powerful example of civil rights
icons and Black voices like Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery, Julian Bond, Rev. Al
Sharpton, Rev. Dr. Michael Eric Dyson and others who have said committed LGBT
couples and families deserve the same protections as everyone else,” says
Sharon Lettman-Hicks, NBJC Executive Director and CEO. “Family is the epicenter
of Black life, community and culture. For Black LGBT people, its importance is
just as great.”

The NAACP has
addressed civil rights with regard to marriage since Loving v. Virginia
declared anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional in 1967. In recent years the
organization has taken public positions against state and federal efforts to
ban the rights and privileges for LGBT citizens, including strong opposition to
Proposition 8 in California, the Defense of Marriage Act, and most recently,
North Carolina’s Amendment 1, which instituted a constitutional ban on marriage
for same-sex couples.

Studies show thatBlack lesbian partners parentat almost
the same rateas Black heterosexual couples.In comparison to their white counterparts, both Black gay and lesbian
couples are more likely to be raising children. Robbed of the 1,138 federal protections and benefits
available to married couples, including Social Security survivors benefits, Medicaid spend-down protections, and workers’ compensation, Black
same-sex families are disproportionately put in harm’s way. Despite these challenges, Black gay men and
lesbians continue to care for children in need of a loving and supportive home.

According tothe LGBT Families of Color: Facts at a Glance Report,same-sex partners who become foster parents are more likely to be families of color than
among heterosexual married couples. Yet40states plus the District of Columbia are silent on fostering by LGBT
parents, while 2 states restrict it.Same-sex couples also face uncertainty about
joint adoption in 28 states and are prohibited entirely in 5 other states.

“Outdated anti-gay laws and mindsets disproportionately
undermine Black families,” adds Lettman-Hicks. “When you deny loving and
committed same-sex couples equal protection under the law, you’re inflicting an
even greater blow on LGBT families of color whose challenges are compounded by both
race and orientation.

As a voice of
Black leadership, the NAACP can help the country understand that the fight for
equality isn’t about ‘Black vs. gay,’ but that there are loving couples and
families at the intersection who are a part of the Black/African American
narrative.”

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The National Black Justice Coalition
(NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black lesbian,
gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. NBJC’s mission is to end racism
and homophobia.

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