ARTICLE

Iowa NAACP leader steps down over group's support of same-sex marriage

Chapter president has been outspoken critic of Iowa's Supreme Court ruling

Keith Ratliff, speaks to a group at a rally on the west steps of the State Capitol in Des Moines in January 2008. Ratlif
Keith Ratliff, speaks to a group at a rally on the west steps of the State Capitol in Des Moines in January 2008. Ratliff stepped down as the chapter's president Wednesday. (AP Photo/Steve Pope)

DES MOINES — A leader in the Iowa/Nebraska branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People — the country’s oldest civil rights group — announced Wednesday that he was resigning in light of the national organization’s decision to endorse same-sex marriage.

The Rev. Keith Ratliff Sr. of the Maple Street Missionary Baptist Church in Des Moines issued a statement saying he was leaving his positions as branch president and national board member “due to the NAACP’s position and support of same sex marriage.”

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 Iowa 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 one such event in 2011, he said his views were tied to his faith.“This isn’t a private interpretation, a Burger King religion, and by that I mean a ‘have it your way’ religion,” he said.