Friday, April 12, 2024

Comentarios from Maria: The debate over marriage equality


Last week, the Supreme Court took a historic step by considering one of the most controversial and enduring civil rights struggles of our time: if marriage equality is a right protected by our Constitution. Although we are still months from a final decision, I am certain that the justices of the Court will not lose sight of the principles of liberty and equality that are enshrined in our Constitution, while they consider the case. Therefore, I have hope that the decision reached by the Supreme Court upholds these principles and reaffirms, once and for all, the dignity and rights that each person deserves, regardless of who you love.

Nobody can argue that to reach this critical point in the rights of the LGBT community has been easy. Just over 10 years ago, Massachusetts was the only state that recognized same-sex marriage. Today, 37 states and the District of Columbia affirm that same-sex couples have a right to marry and, according to a recent survey by The Washington Post and ABC, 6 in every 10 Americans support marriage equality. We should be proud of the progress the our society has shown that has not only evolved in its tolerance but also stands ready to correct the past injustices by granting our LGBT brothers and sisters the same civil rights already enjoyed by others.

As with any other group, the Latino community continues evolving and adapting itself to the culture and society in which we all live. Yet the tendency generalize and misconstrue Latino opinions that simply do not align with the vision of our community still persists. Contrary to Republican opinion, the perspective of many Latinos with respect to marriage equality is in harmony with the majority of the American people who believe that marriage is a fundamental right. There is a certain element of solidarity between Latinos and the LGBT community, because both have experienced humiliating instances of marginalization and discrimination that ultimately unites us, rather than divide us.

Despite these advances in tolerance and inclusion, there is still a faction in our society who have opted to politicize something as personal as love. Republican candidates like Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio hypocritically change their position at their political convenience. Last week, during a reception in his honor, Cruz told a group of gay donors that he would not have a problem if one of his daughters were a lesbian. But, that same week, the Senator asked a group of conservative voters in Iowa to pray for the defeat of marriage equality in the Supreme Court. Another senator with a indisputably anti-gay record, Marco Rubio, recently indicated that he would attend a same-sex wedding, but last week insisted that it would be “ridiculous and absurd” to think that the Constitution protects marriage equality.

The problem facing these candidates is that their own conservative base is changing with the rest of the country. According to statistics, the majority of young Republicans and conservatives are in favor of giving the LGBT community the same rights that many already enjoy. As former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton noted last week, “every couple and family deserve to be recognized and treated as an equal by the law of our country.” Voters are not asleep and will reject those candidates ready to deny fundamental rights to more than 10 percent of the population. Those candidates should reflect on the values of equality, tolerance, protection and justice that each and every one of us value in this great country.

This article originally appeared in Spanish in The Washington Hispanic