Latinos and Gay Marriage

      Well, today is the day. I have been trying to find excuses to postpone writing about an issue that brings lots of controversy. I am a Latina and Catholic is my faith. I will discuss this issue from the civil rights point of view. However, Christian and spiritual love attempts to bring understanding from my side to the others side without making any judgments. I am supposed to find the Christ in every human being I find in my life and establish a connection and interaction in a “bona fide” way, where such interaction will generate spirituality and healing to both souls. Only the best is expected to come out of such interactions where the result will lift and raise the levels of our compassion, love, and understanding.  It is necessary to leave our egos and judgments in the back burner. That is how I see and respect every human being, by respecting and honoring the Christ in them, regardless their background, socioeconomic status, religion, sexual orientation and preference.

     And…that is how we should treat each other, with the golden rule.  It is sad when we have to look into implementing laws to stop the hate and bigotry, we want society to change, but we need to start by changing our hearts, and by changing our hearts we change the way we think about these issues; and that is a challenge to get rid of an ego that judges everything. Gay marriage is an issue of equality and fair treatment. These couples have the right as citizens to enjoy the same liberties we also enjoy. They are forbidden to be included and enjoy the benefits of their couple medical insurance, if a couple had already been joined by a civil union, once one of them die, the other partner has no right to heritance. If a gay couple has shared finances, they also need to enjoy the same legal protection and recognition heterosexual couples enjoy. It is the right thing, AMIGOS.

BUT it is a civil rights issue when:

“We are referring to matters like the fact that we cannot make medical decisions for our partners in an emergency. Instead, the hospitals are usually forced by state laws to go to the families who may be estranged from us for decades, who are often hostile to us, and totally ignore our wishes for the treatment of our partners” (Bistrup, S. 2009)
BUT it is a civil rights issue when:
“If our partners are arrested, we can be compelled to testify against them or provide evidence against them, which legally married couples are not forced to do. Is this fair?” (Bistrup, S. 2009)
BUT it is a civil rights issue when:
“Gay couples who are not married are not recognized in immigration law in most countries, and therefore cannot enter a partner’s country to reside under “family reunion” immigration laws. Is that fair?” (Bistrup, S. 2009)
BUT it is a civil rights issue when:
“ If you are gay, but unmarried, you must get a written, notarized document of permission from the legal parent or guardian of the child before the child will be let on an airplane. Even if you are permanently parenting the child. Married heterosexuals are never asked for such a document. Is this fair? (Bistrup, S. 2009)
But it is a civil rights issue:
“These are all civil rights issues that have nothing whatever to do with the ecclesiastical origins of marriage; they are matters that have become enshrined in state and federal laws over the years in many ways that exclude us from the rights that legally married couples enjoy and consider their constitutional right.” (Bistrup, S. 2009)

       Gay marriage is about gaining personal freedom. Many of the Latinos have experienced some type of discrimination at some point of our lives just because we are Latinos, sometimes is our accent, other times is our skin color, our weight, or the way we look, etc  and that is why I believe many Latinos do not perceive gay marriage as a core issue.  Yes, we are a very conservative community when it comes to family issues and traditions, but we understand the struggles and challenges of the gay community since we seem to create a parallelism between their challenges and our struggles for social equality.  The Latino community  is experiencing and showing a strong solidarity and empathy towards the gay community. Economics, employment, education and immigration reforms are the hot issues in our communities. Some Latino leaders and celebrities (Antonio Gonzalez, president of the William C. Velasquez Institute, a public policy and research group based in Texas, Ricky Martin, Shirl Mora James, lead co-president of the non-partisan National Tequila Party Movement) admire the courage and the determination the gay community displays to achieve their goals and meet their challenges. The passion and courage of the gay community is something we should look into, and emulate to empower our Latino voices as well.

Maria Santiago-Valentín

Bistrup, S. (2009) Gay marriage: the arguments and the motives. Retrieved from: http:/

This entry was posted on May 28, 2012.

Published by Maria Santiago- Valentín