America’s Changing Families

By Joseph Rendeiro, Media Relations Associate, NCLR

Hands on a globe

When my parents and my grandparents emigrated to this country about half a century ago, they, like many other new immigrants, ended up settling into a community of mostly newcomers from their home country. They lived in a predominantly Portuguese enclave of the city, where Portuguese girls often ended up marrying Portuguese boys and continued producing Portuguese babies. This really isn’t unique to just them. The idea that America has always been this melting pot is somewhat flawed, when you consider that, for decades, a lot of communities self-segregated.

But as a twenty-five year old, I can see this melting pot idea becoming a reality for my generation. The defined rules for who you can and cannot love have been changed for the better. All around me, I see more families of mixed race and mixed religions, with two dads and two moms, which only add to the beautiful quilt of families that this nation has already been blessed with.

Continue reading

Familia es familia. Family is Family

By Janet Murguía, President and CEO, NCLR

MarriageEquality_SCOTUS_blogpost_pic

When it comes right down to it, we all want and need the same things in life—health, security, love, and family.  At NCLR, our own mission is fundamentally tied to ensuring full and equal opportunity for Latinos and other Americans to achieve these things.

Last week, the Supreme Court heard arguments on two important cases for the LGBT community that will ultimately determine the legal rights of same-sex couples to marry in the United States.

Continue reading

It’s About Family

By Octavio Espinal, Associate Director, Office of the President, NCLR

Octavio and Eric
My partner Eric (right) and I at the 2012 NCLR ALMA Awards

Familia es familia.  Family is family.

These words have never been truer than they are right now.  I am in a loving, committed relationship, and having the support of my entire family has strengthened mine and Eric’s affection for each other.  It has brought us all closer together.  But my family does not extend their unconditional love and support because I’m gay.  Whether straight, gay, bisexual, or transgender, I have their support because they recognize that family matters above all else.

Family support is a cultural value that I’m proud to say is a hallmark of the Latino community.  For my family and countless others, it doesn’t make sense, nor is it acceptable, for them to deny one of their own simply because of who they love.  Rather, they have opened their arms and their homes to Eric precisely because he is who I love, not in spite of it.

Continue reading

How I Came to Support Marriage…for Myself

By David Castillo, New Media Manager, NCLR

DC_2011Being at Creative Change this week put the issue of marriage equality at the forefront of my mind. Our partners at Familia es Familia hosted a session aimed at educating attendees on the Latino community’s attitudes and thoughts on LGBT issues. They’re positive attitudes, to be sure, but when you think about the top three reasons why Latinos support marriage equality and LGBT rights, they’re not so surprising. Respect, family, and opposition to discrimination are at the core of the Latino community’s values, so it makes sense that our community feels this way toward LGBT people. Like the rest of America, Hispanic views on the LGBT community have evolved toward greater and greater acceptance.

During the session, I started to reflect on the evolution of my own views, though it might not be the evolution you’d expect to hear from an out and proud gay man. Mine has been an evolution toward the acceptance of marriage as an institution I want to be a part of. Don’t get the wrong idea—I certainly recognize the marriage equality fight as one that we need to have. But the truth is that I haven’t always looked at marriage as something that suited me.

The reasons why I opposed marriage for myself are pretty juvenile when I think about them, but I can’t deny the fact that I held steadfast to them well into my twenties. They were mostly rooted in a fear of commitment, though I did my best to justify those views as anything but that. Continue reading