Prince George’s County NAACP president supports marriage in Maryland

This week, Bob Ross, the president of the Prince George's County branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) spoke out in support of Question 6, the ballot measure that would uphold the freedom to marry in Maryland. Gov. Martin O'Malley signed the marriage bill into law in March, and now Marylanders must affirm the law at the ballot on Election Day. 

"On November 6, I'm voting FOR Question 6," Ross says in a video. "Question 6 gives gays and lesbians the right to obtain a marriage license. It doesn't force the church, clergy, or anyone to marry them. It is the fair thing to do for all citizens in the state of Maryland - to have the right to obtain a marriage license."

A majority of Prince George's County's 871,000 residents are black, according to the 2011 U.S. Census. The video appearance from Ross reflects the burgeoning support for the freedom to marry in Maryland's black community. 

In August, a poll was published demonstrating significant growth over the past few months in black Marylanders' support for marriage for same-sex couples. Forty-four percent of African-Americans surveyed said they would vote in favor of marriage at the ballot, with 45 percent saying they'd vote against it. That's a huge improvement from March, when 40 percent of African-Americans surveyed said they would approve the law and 49 percent said they would reject it. 

This growth among black voters in Maryland is reflective of growing support for marriage in the African-American communitynationwide. We've seen in national polls that respondents who identify as "non-white" support the freedom to marry by a very strong margin; one June 2012 poll tracked 59% support and 39% opposition. We've also heard many prominent voices from the African-American community speak out in support of all families, including Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery, Rev. Al Sharpton, Colin Powell, 50 Cent, Jay-Z, and Tony winner Audra McDonald. 

Ross' video is just the latest in a long history of support for marriage from NAACP members. This summer, the NAACP as a whole passed a resolution supporting the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. The organization, which boasted a long-standing commitment to fairness and equality for LGBT people, has continually encouraged black Americans to consider why marriage matters to same-sex couples. Just a few weeks ago NAACP chairman emeritus Julian Bond penned an editorial advocating for Marylanders to uphold the marriage law in the state.

Freedom to Marry applauds Bob Ross and other Marylanders who are supporting Question 6. We know that a wide range of diverse communities overwhelmingly support marriage for all loving and committed couples. Amplifying these communities and highlighting their support is essential to winning the freedom to marry in November.

Read more about why marriage matters to African-AmericansQuestion 6 and marriage in Maryland, the four states where marriage will be on the ballot in November.