CHICAGO —The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is not the only civil rights organization that supports same-sex marriages.
"This issue is dear to my heart and to that of the NAACP. The African-American community and the gay and lesbian community are not and have never been separate communities," Marvin Randolph, a senior vice president for the NAACP, said in a statement. "Gay and lesbian African-Americans are members of our families, our communities and our churches. Affirmation of same sex marriage is simply an affirmation of the full range of African American families."
The 104-year-old civil rights organization stance on same-sex marriages is shared by the Chicago Urban League.
"We have been a supporter for a while. Gay couples have a right to marry," said Andrea Zopp, president and chief executive officer of the Chicago Urban League, who has urged legislators to vote in favor of a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois, which the state Senate passed in February. The House is mulling the issue currently.
"This is an issue of equality, something the Urban League believes strongly in for everyone," she said.
“If Dr. King and our civil rights movement have taught us anything, it’s the fundamental principle that all people deserve equal protection under the law. LGBT people deserve equal rights — including marriage equality," Jackson said in a statement.
"I am disappointed that prominent civil rights organizations and even some black pastors would support a lifestyle the Bible speaks out against," said Jonathan Wilbur, 72, a former Jewel Osco manager who lives in Roseland. "Everything is so political now. The president, pastors and now civil rights leaders are jumping on the popular bandwagon on supporting gay marriages. I'm glad I won't have to deal with this in Heaven."
The Rev. Leonardo Gilbert, pastor of Sheldon Heights Church of Christ on the South Side, said the Bible is clear on the issue of same-sex marriages.
"The Bible says in Leviticus 18:22 'homosexual acts are an abomination to God.' Same-sex marriages is not about equality or civil rights. It is about what is right and wrong and homosexuality is not right in the eyes of God," Gilbert said.
The Rev. James Meeks, pastor of Salem Baptist Church on the South Side, agreed.
"Men should not be marrying men, and women should not be marrying women," Meeks said. "God does not support homosexuality, and neither do I."
However, not all black pastors are against same-sex marriages.
"The Bible speaks against a lot of things, and I am not saying what the Bible says is not true," explained the Rev. Bernard Jakes, pastor of West Point Missionary Baptist Church on the South Side. "But what I am saying is that same-sex marriage is a civil rights issue, and that is why I support it."