The debate over gay marriage in the African American community continues to rage one month after President Barack Obama endorsed same-sex marriage. Weeks after the NAACP, an African-American civil rights organization, passed a resolution also backing gay marriage as a civil right, the Rev. Keith Ratliff Sr., a member of the organization's national board, has resigned.
According to KCCI, Ratliff, who also served as the NAACP's Iowa/Nebraska conference president, has been uncertain about his future role in the group since its decision to follow in Obama's footsteps. On May 28, World Magazine reported:
The Rev. Keith A. Ratliff Sr. said he is “in prayer” about his relationship with the NAACP following its endorsement of same-sex marriage on May 19...“I’m against same-sex marriage,” he told CitizenLink. “There are a number of issues that the NAACP has to address and deal with, and I certainly don’t think same-sex marriage should be a top priority.” Ratliff added that the gay rights movement should not be compared with the civil rights movement: “There is not a parallel between the homosexual community and the struggles of African-Americans in our country. I haven’t seen any signs on any restrooms that say ‘For Homosexuals Only.’ Homosexuals do not have to sit on the back of the bus, as African-Americans had to.”
After prayer, it seems his decision has been solidified.
"I want to thank the NAACP for the privilege to humbly serve in such an organization and thank all those I had the privilege to work with in the states of Iowa, Nebraska and throughout the country," Ratliff said in a statement announcing his decision to exit his leadership role in the nation's oldest civil rights group.
In addition to his work with the group, Ratliff is also the pastor of Maple Street Missionary Baptist Church in Des Moines, Iowa. The Quad City Times expands upon the minister's past history defending traditional marriage and railing against same-sex nuptials:
Ratliff has been an outspoken critic of same-sex marriage rights and has spoken at Statehouse rallies seeking an amendment to the Iowa Constitution to undo a controversial, landmark state Supreme Court ruling in April 2009 that gave legal status to civil marriages involving same-gender couples. The proposed constitutional amendment would define marriage in Iowa as only between one man and one woman. [...]
During a Statehouse rally in March 2011, Ratliff said his support for traditional marriage was biblically based, adding, “This isn’t a private interpretation, a Burger King religion, and by that I mean a ‘have it your way’ religion.”