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NAACP President Discusses Gay Marriage, Death Penalty and Abortion at Netroots


National Association for the Advancement of Colored People President and CEO Benjamin Jealous delivered the closing keynote address before Van Jones at the seventh annual Netroots Nation conference in Providence, RI, Saturday. In front of a crowd of progressive activists and media, the youngest person ever to lead the century old organization advocated an agenda far beyond issues just of race.

"Whether it is fighting HB 56 in Alabama, or its fighting that anti-birth control bill they call personhood in Mississippi," said Jealous. "Or fighting for marriage equality in North Carolina and across this country, the NAACP is committed to being a good ally."

Last month the 103-year-old organization passed a resolution endorsing same-sex marriage as a civil right and opposing any efforts "to codify discrimination or hatred into the law." The move shocked some considering what political data has shown regarding the relationship between the Black community and LGBT causes. Proposition 8 exit polls showed 70 percent of Blacks opposed same-sex marriage in California in 2008. Another poll conducted just this April showed that only 39 percent of African-Americans favor same-sex marriage, compared with 47 percent of whites. The poll showed 49 percent of blacks were opposed to same-sex marriage.

Still, Jealous emphasized support of the movement in line with the organization's support for "climate justice," and opposition to the death penalty and racial discrimination.

Jealous thanked progressives for their solidarity in attempting to stop the execution of Troy Davis this past September. Davis was convinced of killing a police officer in 1991, but maintained innocence until his execution on September 21, 2011.

"People in country had to think about death penalty, and you know what happened? Public support for the death penalty has fallen as a result, to its lowest level since it was abolished in 1972."

Jealous went on at length to discuss racial profiling, and criticized New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's "Stop and Frisk" practices.  Jealous exclaimed that the mayor is on pace this year for 800,000 stops--which the NAACP president described several times as "jackin' up our friends."Jealous plans to march to Mayor Bloomberg's home on Fathers Day June 17 joined by thousands of progressive supporters to protest "Stop and Frisk."

Watch Jealous's complete address where he has some strong words for the "real tea party" and even a short story about him and 1996 Republican Vice Presidential candidate Jack Kemp:

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