Wednesday, May 27, 2009

NY's largest Spanish-language newspaper calls for marriage equality once again

On November 17th, 2008, in the wake of passage of Prop. 8 in California, the largest Spanish-language newspaper in New York finally stepped off the fence and unequivocally stood for marriage equality ("A stand for same-sex marriage").

At the time, I noted the surprisingly strong stance that they took against homophobic Democratic Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr., and his prolonged efforts to deny rights to same-sex couples living in New York State.

Three weeks later, on December 5th, the paper once again took a dig at the Senator's stance on marriage rights while saluting the possibility of increased Latino representation in the state legislature ("Representation that counts").

Now, five months later - and two days before last Monday's Prop. 8 ruling in California - the paper took a third stand for marriage equality in New York State which also alludes to Diaz, Sr., without calling him by name ("A Shameful Denial of Rights"). I am taking the liberty of publishing it here in full.
When a husband or wife is hospitalized, a spouse deserves the right to be informed of their health status and be consulted for any life or death decisions. Spouses also have the legal right to have a say about shared property, the well being of their children and a host of other issues critical to their lives together.

These are only a few of the legal rights that heterosexual, married couples benefit from and take for granted, But gay and lesbian couples –who also share their lives and raise families together – are denied these fundamental legal protections.

A legal marriage is not merely symbolic. There are 1,138 rights and responsibilities that are given to married couples by the federal government, according to the Empire State Pride Agenda. Another 1,324 rights and responsibilities come from New York State government—but these rights come only with a legally-sanctioned marriage license.

To deny same sex couples the right to get married, is to deny them basic legal rights.

A legal marriage is not the same thing as a religious union. The right to a legal marriage by same sex couples does not infringe on any religious freedoms. No religion or congregation need recognize or consecrate a union that runs against their beliefs. No customs or religious practices need change. None.

Yet, conservative religious and political groups continue to stoke irrational fears. Legislation that would allow same-sex marriage is caught up in politics in Albany, where some legislators are worried about political blowback for supporting this measure.

We call on these legislators to muster the courage to do the right thing. New York needs a fair law to protect same sex couples and families that have been shamefully marginalized for far too long.
I want to publicly thank El Diario La Prensa for their invigorated leadership on standing for what is right and on challenging the wrongful view that Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr. speaks for the Latino community.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Andres,
My name is Maribelle Vazquez and I am Sophia Pazos' spouse. We have been together for 8 years.

I want to thank you for doing your part in our communidad Latina in standing up for not just marriage equality but all the other rights that we are denied.

As for Mr. Diaz, I believe he knows that he has the power to pull the Latino Pentecostal and Evangelical communities to stand against our rights and he likes the attention that that power affords him. I also believe that a good chunk of the people that follow him have no idea or understanding of what it is that they were standing against. It is so sad. I come from that religious tradition and it hurts.