NAACP Leader Resigns Over Same-Sex Marriage Support

Rev. Keith Ratliff
Rev. Keith Ratliff (KCCI)

The NAACP may support gay marriage, but that doesn’t mean all its leaders do.

In fact, the Rev. Keith Ratliff, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s Iowa-Nebraska conference and pastor of Maple Street Missionary Baptist Church in Des Moines, Iowa, has resigned from the organization "due to the NAACP’s position and support of same-sex marriage."

The NAACP released a resolution on May 19 supporting marriage equality. At a meeting of the 103-year old civil rights group’s board of directors, the organization voted to support marriage equality as a continuation of its historic commitment to equal protection under the law.

"I want to thank the NAACP for the privilege to humbly serve in such an organization and thank all those I had the privilege to work with in the states of Iowa, Nebraska and throughout the country," Ratliff in a statement.

President Obama announced in May that he believes same-sex couples should be allowed to get married, setting off a firestorm of criticism in the African-American church community.

Roslyn M. Brock, chairwoman of the Baltimore, Md.-based NAACP’s board of directors, thanked Ratliff on the NAACP’s behalf for his service.

"The NAACP strongly affirms his personal convictions as we do the religious conscience of all people as protected under the First Amendment," Borck said in a statement. "The constitution of the NAACP states that our mission is to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of all people.

"Our resolution to oppose any national, state, local policy or legislative initiative that seeks to codify discrimination or hatred into the law or to remove the constitutional rights of LGBT citizens remains within the scope of this mission.

"We do did not issue our support of marriage equality from any personal, moral or religious perspective," she continued. "However, we affirm that civil marriage is a civil right, and our support for marriage equality is consistent with equal protection under the law provided by the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. We understand that there will sometimes be differences of opinion in our ongoing struggle to eliminate discrimination in this country, and we will always welcome diverse voice at our table."

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