Friday, August 31, 2012
LGBT and Latino Coalition Forms in Maryland
LGBT and Latino activists have formed a coalition in Maryland in support of two state ballot initiatives: one that would enact marriage equality, and one that would legalize a state version of the Dream Act, making undocumented immigrants eligible for in-state tuition at public colleges and universities in Maryland. Casa de Maryland, Equality Maryland and Latino GLBT History Project have united to promote these groundbreaking initiatives.
“Marriage equality is from our viewpoint a civil rights issue, very similar to immigration reform,” said Gustavo Torres, Casa’s executive director. Though some may consider this to be an unexpected partnership because of perceived negative feelings towards LGBT equality among some conservative Latinos, Torres pointed out that over 60 percent of Latino Catholics support same-sex marriage.
However, not all Latinos are embracing this coalition. Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, stated “I think the two issues are totally unrelated … [Center-right and religious Americans who support the Dream Act] will not sacrifice biblical truth on the altar of political expediency.”
Supporters of marriage equality and the Dream Act are hoping that voters will see the interrelatedness of the issues. Councilwoman Nancy Navarro of Montgomery County District 4, whose brother is gay, stated that the coalition represents “a family values issue.”
Take Action: In addition to Maryland, marriage equality initiatives will be on the ballot this November in Maine, Minnesota, and Washington. If you live in any of these states, it is imperative that you click here, type in your zip code, and send a message to your elected officials letting them know why you support marriage equality.