William Barber, the president of the North Carolina chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), has reiterated his group's opposition to a proposed gay marriage ban in the state.

Voters in North Carolina will decide next May on whether to amend the state constitution to define marriage as a heterosexual union. The amendment would also bar the state from recognizing gay and lesbian couples with civil unions and possibly domestic partnerships.

During a panel Saturday at the 2011 Equality North Carolina Foundation Conference, Barber told attendees that the NAACP was fighting for civil rights.

In an open letter to North Carolinians, Barber wrote that his group has not taken a position on gay marriage, but added that it opposes the amendment based on its discriminatory nature.

“No matter our color. No matter our faith tradition. Those who stand for love and justice are not about to fall for their trick. No matter how you feel personally about same-sex marriage, no one, especially those of use whose forebearers were denied constitutional protections and counted as 3/5ths of a vote for their slave-masters and mere chattel property for other purposes in the old Constitutions – none of us should ever want to deny any other person constitutional protections.”

“A vote on the same sex marriage amendment has nothing to do with your personal opinion on same sex marriage but everything to do with whether or not you believe discrimination should be codified and legalized constitutionally,” Barber wrote.