Actor and anti-LGBT equality advocate Eduardo Verastegui was invited to the Huntington Park Spring festival this weekend to serve as its "King," making members of the Latino Equality Alliance and others unhappy.
The Mexican actor starred in "Chasing Papi" and later became an outspoken critic of marriage equality. He even filmed a pro Proposition 8 commercial.Verastegui is also strongly anti-choice. An article in the Daily Beast by Michelle Goldberg revealed that The National Organization for Marriage put Verastegui at the top of their list in their plan to reach Latinos.
A memo outlining NOM's then 2010 election strategy revealed that NOM leaders hoped to make opposition to marriage equality a sort of badge of honor for Latinos, a sort of rejection of American values. “Our ultimate goal is to make opposition to gay marriage an identity marker, a badge of youth rebellion to conformist assimilation to the bad side of ‘Anglo’ culture,” the memo says. As Goldberg points out, the strategy is ironic considering that right wing organizations like NOM often complain that Latinos and other immigrants refuse to assimilate.
In fact, polls show that Latino support for LGBT people and issues is strong and growing. In the past few years Verastegui has turned his attention to starring in and producing biblically themed films. He is currently doing the voice of Jesus in the Spanish version of "Son of God" which he also co-produces. Verastegui also does guest appearances and lectures around the world promoting his religious views.
"As a resident of the City of Huntington Park I am disappointed that a person with a history of extreme views would be given a place of prominence among our neighbors. This is hurtful and unacceptable to the many LGBT members of our community and our families," said Eddie Martinez a co-founder of Latino Equality Alliance.
The Greater Huntington Park Area Chamber of Commerce hosts this annual carnival to promote local businesses and local talent. LEA attempted to reach organizers but they were unable to connect before the weekend's events. LEA members plan to bring up the issue at the next City Council meeting.