On May 28, 2013, Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman invited the Omaha South High School boys soccer team to a lunch in honor of their recent state championship. The team decided to use this opportunity to deliver a letter expressing their disappointment in the governor’s decision to not issue driver’s licenses to young undocumented immigrants who have received a temporary reprieve from deportation through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. The governor’s decision also prompted the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) to file suit against the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles.
Even though the team indicated in the letter that they were honored by the governor’s invitation, some people are still calling their move brash when they should be calling it brave. How often do regular people get a chance to have a face-to-face meeting with their elected official to discuss important community issues? Very rarely. Even if immigration was not part of the lunch agenda, the boys soccer team had every right to use the event to bring awareness to this issue. In fact, one could argue that it was their responsibility to inform the governor about how his decision affected his constituents. After all, isn’t that what democracy is all about?
The Supreme Court will decide on the constitutionality of the government’s so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 later this month. The cases being heard are United States v. Windsor (DOMA) and Hollingsworth v. Perry (Proposition 8). In advance of those oral arguments, today NCLR joined a sea of concerned citizens and organizations in filing friend-of-the-court, or amicus, briefs urging the Court to overturn both DOMA and Proposition 8.
We’re especially proud to be joining our sister organizations, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), as co-signatories to the amicus briefs. We’ve long known that Latinos support marriage equality for all, but recent polling of our community confirms it. The Windsor case in particular has many implications for Latinos, not the least being the issue of binational couples who are too often torn apart because of DOMA and our broken immigration system. The time has come for the Supreme Court to put an end to this debate and compel the federal government to recognize all legal marriages, not just those it chooses to.