NAACP endorses gay marriage

And the tide has turned:

The NAACP’s board of directors voted Saturday to endorse same-sex marriage rights – adding the influential voice of the country’s leading black civil rights organization to a debate that has divided the African-American community…

“Civil marriage is a civil right and a matter of civil law,” NAACP president Benjamin Todd Jealous said in a statement released Saturday. “The NAACP’s support for marriage equality is deeply rooted in the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution and equal protection of all people. The well-funded right wing organizations who are attempting to split our communities are no friend to civil rights, and they will not succeed.”

I have said in the past in one place or another (if it was on FTSOS, I can’t find it) that the black community should have been ashamed of itself given its high proportion of bigots during the Prop 8 days in California. (If memory serves, other minorities also suffered from a high rate of bigotry over the issue.) Of all the groups in the US, blacks may be the most well positioned to understand what discrimination is like and why it’s wrong. It isn’t merely an intellectual exercise for them; it have been reality for so many decades and centuries. Yet here we are, still trying to get over this hurdle. I think this announcement by the NAACP is going to give progress a big boost, but it’s slightly surprising that more blacks and other minorities aren’t ahead of the curve on this one. Chalk it up to Christian influence, I suppose.

The NAACP now presents itself as a counterbalance to the influence of the traditionally socially conservative black church. It can also help establish closer ties between blacks and gays, two of Obama’s most loyal constituencies.

I’ve always wondered what the black church looks like. Where is it located? Who runs it? Who are its members? How does it file with the IRS? Is it a made-up concept that unnecessarily simplifies all black people?