The head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People stressed earlier on Wednesday that he remains optimistic that Maryland voters will support the state’s same-sex marriage law in the likely November referendum.
“There’s a very good chance, but with any fight you’ve got to stay in fighting position right up until the very end,” said NAACP President Benjamin Jealous in an exclusive interview after he attended Team DC’s Night Out at Nationals Park on Tuesday.
Jealous’ comments less than a month after the Maryland Marriage Alliance submitted 113,000 signatures in support of a referendum. The organization had needed to collect 55,736 signatures by June 30 to prompt a vote on the same-sex marriage law that Gov. Martin O’Malley signed in March. An unofficial count posted to the Maryland State Board of Elections’ website last Friday shows that officials have validated 109,313 of the 113,000 signatures.
Jealous, who spoke with the Blade roughly a month after the Baltimore-based organization’s Board of Directors endorsed nuptials for gays and lesbians, stressed that supporters of nuptials for gays and lesbians need to realize that the PPP poll simply means that “they’re doing good at the moment.” He further categorized the effort to defend Maryland’s same-sex marriage law as a long-term “fist fight” in which he said LGBT activists and their allies must remain engaged.
Jealous also stressed that he feels President Barack Obama’s public support of nuptials for gays and lesbians has had an impact on public opinion among black voters—Obama urged Marylanders to vote for their state’s same-sex marriage law during a campaign fundraiser in Baltimore on June 12.
“He’s done a lot and is really respected — especially in the black community,” said Jealous.