.- The NAACP's recent endorsement of âgay marriageâ drew harsh criticism from within the African American community for misrepresenting civil rights and undermining families.
Pastor Derek McCoy, executive director of the Maryland Marriage Alliance, said that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's âunfortunateâ stance on the issue will contribute to the âfurther demise of the family.â
McCoy told CNA on May 21 that the NAACP is âendorsing an epidemicâ of fatherless households, a âtragicâ phenomenon in the United States and particularly in the African American community.
On May 19, the association released a statement in support of redefining marriage to include gay couples. The announcement came ten days after President Barack Obama announced his unprecedented support for âgay marriage.â
McCoy said that despite its long record of important work, however, the NAACP's latest move does not reflect the views of its constituents.
According to an April 2012 survey by Pew Research Center, only 39 percent of African Americans are in favor of redefining marriage. Voters across the country have consistently affirmed measures to defend marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
McCoy said that redefining marriage is redefining the family in a way that is âhazardousâ for children.
âGay marriageâ teaches that fathers and mothers are both dispensable, he explained, and âthis is absolutely going to harm the family.â
The absence of a father has been linked to higher rates of crime, poverty, drug abuse and teenage pregnancy throughout the U.S.
In his 2011 Fatherâs Day proclamation, President Obama noted the importance of fatherhood and said that his administration was making support of fathers a priority. âA father's absence is felt by children, families, and communities in countless ways, leaving a hole that can have lasting effects,â he said.
Statistics show that more than half of black children live in single-parent households, often lacking the presence of a father.
Support for âgay marriage,â McCoy underscored, reiterates the message that âone of the parents is no longer valid.â
Both fathers and mothers become âoptionalâ in a society where having one father is viewed as no different from having two or none at all, he said.
The pastor explained that government has always recognized marriages in order to âlook out for the best interest of the child.â Studies clearly show that a family with a mother and a father âis the best place for kids to be raised,â he noted.
McCoy also said that the effort to redefine marriage âdoes not compare to civil rights.â
He dismissed attempts to compare people who reject âgay marriageâ to those who oppose interracial marriage.
âThatâs not the same issue at all,â he said, reflecting that racial differences are irrelevant to marriage, but sexual complementarity is at the heart of marriage by its very nature.
âThe core essence of a marriage is the two sexes coming together,â he said.
Other African American leaders have also criticized the NAACPâs endorsement of âgay marriageâ in recent days.
Dr. Alveda C. King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said that neither her grandfather nor her uncle âembraced the homosexual agenda that the current NAACP is attempting to label as a civil rights agenda.â
âWe who marched with Rev. King did not march one inch or one mile to promote same-sex marriage,â agreed Rev. William Owens, founder and president of the Coalition of African American Pastors.
He explained that redefining marriage is counter to Dr. Kingâs work because it is a political attempt to âdeclare that an act contrary to God's law and to the natural law is a civil right.â
âWe call on all Americans to respect the legitimate civil rights of gay people to be free from violence, harassment, to vote, to hold jobs,â Owens said. âBut none of us has a moral or civil right to redefine marriage.â