BALTIMORE, May 19 (UPI) -- The NAACP Saturday endorsed same-sex marriage in the United States as a "civil right" but also said it affirmed "religious freedoms of all people."
The board of directors of the civil rights organization voted to adopt a resolution declaring its support for "marriage equality consistent with equal protection under the law provided under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution."
"Further, we strongly affirm the religious freedoms of all people as protected by the First Amendment," the resolution read.
"Civil marriage is a civil right and a matter of civil law," NAACP President Benjamin Jealous said in a statement. "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."
A Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll in November found 58 percent of U.S. blacks described same-sex marriage as "unacceptable," while 35 percent said it was "acceptable." However, a majority of U.S. blacks supported President Barack Obama's statement this month that he supports same-sex marriage, a Washington Post-ABC News poll found.
Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign -- which advocates for equal rights for gays -- said in a statement the organization "could not be more pleased with the NAACP's history-making vote today -- which is yet another example of the traction marriage equality continues to gain in every community."
"It's time the shameful myth that the African-American community is somehow out of lockstep with the rest of the country on marriage equality is retired -- once and for all. The facts and clear momentum toward marriage speak for themselves," the statement said.
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