Tuesday, February 14, 2006

"Marriage Equality Matters" is Launched

Yesterday, the National Latina/o Coalition for Justice, the Black Justice Coalition, Asian Equality, Freedom to Marry and Lambda Legal launched a national campaign to increase the visibility of people of color who support same-sex marriage according to articles published today in 365gay.com and The Advocate.com. The "Marriage Equality Matters" campaign was launched in conjunction with the national Freedom to Marry Week which began on February 12th. To find out more you can visit this site. You can also join the campaign here, and download campaign materials here (I am a member of the National Latina/o Coalition for Justice).

5 comments:

seyd said...

Question: What is the National Latina/o Coalition for Justice? A New York organization? The website doesn't say anything.

Andrés Duque said...

The National Latina/o Coalition for Justice is a brand spanking new national group (well, new as of last year) which specifically focuses on the issue of access to marriage rights for same-sex couples. The website is currently under construction.

seyd said...

Oh come on, why don't you tell us the complete story behind it? Who started it? Where was it started? I know you know more.

Andrés Duque said...

Hm, ok, let me try again:

Back when Canada and Massachussetts happened, some of us saw how some religious leaders in the community (particularly the Reverend and New York State Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr.) started to ratchet up their homophobic sermons in our communities and decided to respond. To my knowledge, a press conference under the banner of Latinos Against a Constitutional Amendment became the first Latino demonstration in support of the right for same-sex couples to marry. We also participated in counter-protests to gatherings organized by Reverend Diaz and CONLAMIC (a national right-wing Latino evangelical association based in DC).

Then we started to notice organizatons such as Focus on the Family hire Spanish-speaking spokespeople to go on Telemundo and Univision to spew the usual hate and saw that we were facing something bigger. So, with this in mind, four or five people who did work with Latino media and Latino LGBT issues in California, Florida, New York and Puerto Rico met informally here in NYC and decided to strategize on how to make sure that if the religious right was having a say in our media, our media also was showing our point of view (LLEGO was invited to the meeting but did not participate) - You can find some of the resulting media coverage in GLAAD's People of Color web pages.

Now, some of that work was done on a volunteer basis and most of us do not get paid to advocate for same-sex marriage. Ultimately some of us saw the need to make this a specific effort housed under one roof and, even if those preliminary efforts did not necessarily lead directly to the creation of NLCJ, most of those involved in those early informal strategy meetings are now part of NLCJ and NLCJ represents our shared view that there is a need for an organization that advocates for same-sex marriage from a Latino perspective.

Now, I certainly know that the same-sex marriage issue is not backed by all members of the Latino LGBT community or is seen as not necessarily as a priority in our communities, and I think we have been careful in being respectful of other points of view. But there are also some of us who do think that it's an important enough matter to devote some of our time.

Most of the work that NLCJ has done so far as the Coalition coalesces has been in California (though members include people from around the US and Puerto Rico) but the hope is that in the future the Coalition can grow and it can also have ain impact elsewhere. For info on how to join, contact the NLCJ convener at lisbeth@freedomtomarry.org

Now, there is also UNID@S, which is a national Latino LGBT organizing effort which is not limited to the issue of same-sex marriage. For info on UNID@S you can actually reach me at andresito_ny@yahoo.com

seyd said...

I think that comment deserves its own post ;)

For the record, I am all for same-sex marriages.