Supporters and opponents of gay nuptials in Maryland are offering different takes about the impact of the decision by the board of directors of the NAACP to endorse same-sex marriage.
Derek McCoy, executive director of the Maryland Marriage Alliance, which is leading efforts to repeal Maryland’s new same-sex marriage law, said Monday that he thinks the NAACP’s stand will actually inspire more people to get involved on his group’s side of the issue.
“We respect the NAACP and its rich history,” McCoy said. “But this is clearly not in lockstep with their constituents. We feel they’ve made a real misstep.”
Leaders of Marylanders for Marriage Equality, meanwhile, said they could not be more pleased with the NAACP action taken over the weekend.
“It is yet again reflective of the growing momentum within the African American community — like all communities — to support stronger families and protect children,” said Josh Levin, campaign manager for Marylanders for Marriage Equality.
Levin noted that the Baltimore chapter of the NAACP has been on board in Maryland since his coalition’s formation last summer.
Julian Bond, chairman emeritus of the NAACP, has also endorsed Maryland’s new law. And on Monday, Gerald Stansbury, president of the Maryland State Conference NAACP, told the Washington Blade: “We’re supporting the national office and the national NAACP and taking the position that they have.”
Both sides are gearing up for an expected November referendum in Maryland on a law signed in March by Gov. Martin O’Malley (D). McCoy’s group says it is ahead of pace in its efforts to collect enough signatures to force a public vote.
The views of black voters in Maryland could prove pivotal to the measure’s outcome on the ballot. African Americans make up a larger share of residents in Maryland than in any state outside the Deep South.
A Post poll in January showed 50 percent of adults overall voiced support for same-sex marriage and 44 percent opposed it. Among African Americans, the Post poll showed a majority were opposed: 53 percent to 39 percent.