Dr. Alveda C. King, the niece of Martin Luther King, Jr., has expressed dissatisfaction with the NAACP's affirmation of gay marriage and rejects claims that the fight for such unions is linked to the civil rights movement. King claims the anti-traditional marriage community wants "a world where homosexual marriage and abortion will supposedly set the captives free."
Dr. King, who is also the Sr. Pastoral Associate and Director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life and Gospel of Life Ministries, said in a statement that she opposes the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's recent endorsement of same-sex marriage.
"Neither my great-grandfather an NAACP founder, my grandfather Dr. Martin Luther King, Sr. an NAACP leader, my father Rev. A. D. Williams King, nor my uncle Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. embraced the homosexual agenda that the current NAACP is attempting to label as a civil rights agenda," the civil rights leader expressed.
"In the 21st Century, the anti-traditional marriage community is in league with the anti-life community, and together with the NAACP and other sympathizers, they are seeking a world where homosexual marriage and abortion will supposedly set the captives free," King added.
The NAACP, the nation's oldest African-American civil rights group, voted on Sunday, May 20, to endorse same-sex marriage at its board meeting in Miami, Fla. The decision came only two weeks after President Barack Obama shared that his views had also changed on the issue and he now supports gay couples legally being allowed to marry.
"The mission of the NAACP has always been to ensure political, social and economic equality of all people," Roslyn M. Brock, chairman of the Board of Directors of the NAACP, said in a statement. "We have and will oppose efforts to codify discrimination into law."
"Civil marriage is a civil right and a matter of civil law," added Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the organization. "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."
Many African-American leaders, however, have openly disagreed with the NAACP's support of same-sex marriage.
"The group of black clergy and civil rights leaders say it is time to turn the tide against the 'hijacking' of the civil rights movement," said the Rev. Bill Owens, the organizer of the Coalition of African-American Pastors. Owens and his peers gathered at a press conference last week to protest the comparison of same-sex marriage to the civil rights struggles of black Americans.
"A 50-year-old can only read about the struggles and protests of the civil rights era, but some of us who are older have the battle scars to prove it. And the rights we fought so hard to acquire did not include same-sex marriage," the Rev. Owens added.
Another Christian leader went so far as to call the NAACP "irrelevant" to the lives of African-Americans.
"The black community is suffering from soaring unemployment, an extraordinarily high rate of abortions, a high school drop out rate among black teenagers that is breathtaking, an exploding rate of single parent households and the decimation of black families – yet, the NAACP is making statements about same-sex marriage. The NAACP has proven again to be an irrelevant organization as it relates to issues of survival for the black community," expressed Pastor Stephen Broden of Fair Park Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas.
Arguing that African-American pastors believe that homosexual behavior is sinful, CP contributor and Nebraska pastor Dan Delzell suggested, "President Obama is leading the way on gay marriage for what he hopes will be a large following of black pastors and their congregations. Many black pastors are not following his lead. The vast majority of pastors in the black community do not want the children in their church being taught that homosexual behavior is no longer sinful."
Support for gay marriage among African-Americans in general, however, is reportedly on the rise. According to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released this week, support for same-sex marriage among black Americans is up from 41 percent in recent surveys to 59 percent.