What a coincidence. Less than two weeks after President Obama “evolved” into openly supporting same-sex marriage, the NAACP has passed a resolution supporting it too. “Civil marriage is a civil right and a matter of civil law,” NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Jealous explained. He added that “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.”
I don’t know about that, but I do know that the NAACP’s support for “marriage equality” is deeply rooted in its desire to serve Barack Obama. Polls show that Blacks as a group are opposed to gay marriage. Obama needs the full, enthusiastic support of Black voters and potential voters. The NAACP’s resolution should be understood as an effort at damage control with this constituency.
Anyone who finds this assessment too cynical should consider the timing of the announcement. The refusal by States to deem gay unions “marriages” is no more or less a violation of civil rights than it was a month ago. Nor has the Fourteenth Amendment changed. All that has changed is the perception that Obama may need cover on this issue with Black voters.
In reality, I doubt that Obama does. In all likelihood, Blacks will continue to support Obama wholeheartedly; indeed initial polling shows no erosion in his popularity among Blacks due to his latest position on gay marriage. To the extent that Obama loses a bit of his support from this group compared to 2008, it will be because he has failed to deliver as Blacks had hoped, not because of “evolution” on gay marriage.
But if Obama does face the prospect of slippage with Blacks due to this issue, I doubt that the NAACP — a once great but now largely irrelevant outfit — can help him.