Illinois NAACP endorses gay marriage

Sat. April 13, 2013 7:52 AM by

Chicago, IL - The Illinois chapter of the NAACP has endorsed gay marriage in Illinois.

A bill which seeks to make Illinois the 10th state to legalize such unions awaits a vote in the House after passage in the Senate.

Lobbying efforts from opponents and supporters ramped up this week as lawmakers returned to Springfield after a two-week break.

In making the endorsement, NAACP Illinois State Conference President George P. Mitchell pointed to the organization's long history fighting for civil rights.

"The NAACP was founded 104 years ago in response to the continuing horrific practice of lynching and the 1908 race riot in Springfield."

"While the nature of the struggle may change, our bedrock commitment to civil rights and freedom never will and that includes civil marriage equality. The fight for freedom and equality encompasses all mankind."

"We live in a democracy. In our democracy we have the benefit of a Constitution which defines the equal rights which we all share and to which we as a nation aspire. The Fourteenth Amendment to that Constitution says, in part, that no state 'shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws' and that becomes a significantly relevant issue."

"Just 50 years ago, many states would not recognize a marriage between people of different races. Today, we see marriage equality as a civil rights issue and an extension of that fight. Marriage equality is just that – the right to be treated equally in the eyes of the government. What better evidence than the Fourteenth Amendment."

"People of good conscience can disagree on this issue. We deeply respect differences of opinion and conscience on the religious definition of marriage, and we strongly affirm the religious freedoms and ceremonial practices of all as protected by the First Amendment."

"But, the NAACP will always stand for full equality under the law."

Article provided in partnership with On Top Magazine