Articles

Luchando (Fighting) for Marriage Equality Across America

In NLLSA on November 17, 2009 by cgonzal4

About a year ago, California passed “Proposition 8,” restricting marriage to only opposite-sex couples subsequently overturning the California Supreme Court’s ruling of In re Marriage cases. The Proposition 8 battle over gay marriage was one of the most hotly contested initiatives in state history, accumulating over $80 million between the two campaigns. In the middle of that fight was the struggle to obtain the Latino vote.
Latinas/os were considered a crucial swing vote, as they backed a progressive Presidential candidate in Barack Obama, but also supported strongly conservative religious views of the Catholic Church. Yet, despite supporting a progressive president (carrying it by more than 2 to 1 over John McCain), 53% of Latinas/os voted for Proposition 8—a significant percentage in such a close race, 52% to 48%. Many called the Latina/o vote an irony, especially to those that consider gay marriage a civil rights issue. It was reasoned that Latina/o people should understand the struggle for civil rights, and thus be supportive of other marginalized groups. While we cannot generalize the Latino voice in the context of the gay marriage debate (and, no matter what your position is), there is no doubt that Latino culture is perceived as machista and homophobic .
Recent politics in Latin America, however, may start changing this perception of Latinas/os. Latin America, Catholic continent of the world, is slowly progressing towards a pattern of recognizing same-sex civil unions and gay marriage. The country and the world came to a shock when an Argentinean judge recently ruled that a ban on same-sex marriage violated Argentina’s constitutional rights of equality.
While the judge ruling only affects Buenos Aires, gay marriage proponents hope this ruling will have the same impact that same-sex civil unions has had across Latin America. Argentina became the first Latin American city to legalize same-sex civil unions, setting an example for several states in Mexico and Brazil. Uruguay legalized civil unions nationwide. Thus, demonstrating the adaptability of Latin American culture despite its long held tie to the Catholic Church.
While the leap between civil unions and gay marriage is significant, there is no doubt that times are changing and the question left is how this Latin American trend will affect Latinas/os in the United States. Gay marriage proponents are determined to succeed in California, only time will tell whether Latin American politics will help lead the fight for these activists here at home.
Con mucho, mucho…amor
Brenda

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One Response to “Luchando (Fighting) for Marriage Equality Across America”

  1. As a follow up, two men were granted a marriage license in Argentina’s capital on Monday, breaking ground in a country and region where laws ban gay marriage.

    http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2009/11/16/world/AP-LT-Argentina-Gay-Marriage.html

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