For Many Latino Parents, Marriage Equality is about Family

Many Latino allies are speaking out in support of their LGBT family and friends in states where the population will be asked to vote on marriage equality Nov. 6. In three of the four states voting on marriage for same-sex couples (Maryland, Minnesota, Washington, and Maine) there has been significant outreach to the Latino community.

That's certainly no surprise given the increasingly strong support for LGBT issues among Latinos. In fact, according to an October 2012 study by the Pew Research Center, 52% of Latinos support marriage for same-sex couples—and among Latino Catholics support is slightly higher at 54%.

So many men and woman in each state have amazing stories to tell, including couples, parents of gay children, and advocates. Here are just a few.

For Alma Garza, an otherwise a shy and quiet figure, her son Pablo’s happiness means the world to her. That includes approving Washington state’s Referendum 74 (which would uphold its marriage equality law passed and signed into law in February 2012) so her son can get married. Pablo, a Navy veteran who is currently serving in the Army National Guard, is in a domestic partnership with his partner of 3 years, Derrick Peacock. While Alma is actively speaking and engaging with community members and has even spoken in the media about her support for marriage equality, Pablo’s stepfather Elido Garza has registered to vote for the first time ever just to mark his ballot to approve Referendum 74 for marriage equality. “There’s not anything I wouldn’t do for my kids,” Elido Garza said in an interview with The News Tribune of Tacoma, Wash. “I would jump over mountains." Check out Pablo's "Why Marriage Matters" video

Washington State Rep. Phyllis Gutierrez-Kinney, a grandmother and mother of two gay sons, recently co-authored an op-ed with Martha Choe, a leader in Seattle's Asian-American community,  calling for Washington to again lead the country on marriage equality with Referendum 74.

Maryland's Question 6 (which would uphold the state's marriage equality law passed last year) is personal for Montgomery County Councilmember Nancy Navarro: she has a younger gay brother Pedro, who came out to her and her sister 17 years ago. At a press conference announcing the launch of Familia es Familia Maryland, Navarro stated her support is not only for her brother Pedro, but also “for all the brothers and sisters, the daughters, the sons, the cousins, the uncles, the aunts, everybody who we call family.  I am here to urge our Latino community to never forget that,” she said. 

Visit GLAAD’s WashingtonMinnesota and Maryland vote pages for up to date information, and GLAAD’s voting page to familiarize yourself with the issues.