Although Benjamin Todd Jealous, president of the NAACP, keeps finding excuses to explain why the organization refuses to officially endorse marriage equality, he does think there’s plenty of room for Black Inc. and Gay Inc. to work together. Popping up this week at New York City’s LGBT Center to promote the upcoming One Nation Working Together rally in D.C., Jealous (who says he personally supports gay marriage), Jealous dedicated his speech to gay civil rights hero Bayard Rustin. Not that everyone was impressed.
“The NAACP is opposed to discrimination in all its forms,” Jealous told the Washington Post in an email. “We recognize that many of our members are also members of the LGBT community, and just as the LGBT community counts on us to stand with it for basic civil rights protections, so we count on the LGBT community to stand with us in our unified struggle for the broader civil rights agenda.”
Inevitably, these things always turn into a “Is Gay The New Black?” debate. So when Jealous was pointedly asked whether the NAACP would support the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, right there next to race, he put it this way: Leave that thing alone, and let’s pass ENDA.