Marriage Equality is Now the Law of the Land

Today, in a 5-to-4 decision, the Supreme Court affirmed the legality of same-sex marriages, granting gay and lesbian couples across the nation the right to marry. We applaud this decision, which is a monumental victory for equal treatment and justice for all.

“The decision handed down today ends once and for all an injustice that millions of Americans have endured,” said Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR. “We are pleased to see that the Court agrees with the majority of Americans who believe that LGBT couples deserve equal rights, benefits and protections under the law.”

A 2012 study released by NCLR found that Hispanics were as tolerant as their fellow Americans, if not more tolerant, toward the LGBT community. Nearly half of all Latinos polled supported gay marriage, while about 60 percent supported civil unions. Similar to the overall population, Latinos have since increased their support for same-sex marriage and show high support for legal protections for hate crimes and job discrimination toward LGBT individuals. Read the full decision here.

NCLR was at the Supreme Court today to get reaction from some gay Latinos who were there to show solidarity.

Joyous cries erupted shortly after 10 a.m., when decisions are handed down, indicating that the Supreme Court had ruled in favor of legalizing same-sex marriages across the country.

Numerous married couples were also at the Supreme Court, including Ruben Gonzalez (pictured below, right) and Joaquin Tamayo. RubenJoaquin Ruben shared his reaction to the news and why being at the Court on this decision day was so special.

Also in attendance was Latino GLBT History Project board member, Jesse Garcia. As a long time civil rights activist, Jesse felt privileged to be able to join marriage equality supporters on the steps of the Supreme Court for this historic day.

Jesse Garcia (center) joins Latino GLBT History Project members at the Supreme Court.

Jesse Garcia (center) joins Latino GLBT History Project members at the Supreme Court.

Jesse shared with us what today’s decision meant to him and what he hopes the LGBT rights movement goes next.

Today’s decision was indeed a historic one and we look forward to working with the LGBT rights movement for equality and justice for all.

Weekly Washington Outlook — October 6, 2014

US Supreme Court

What to Watch This Week:

Congress:

House:

The House is in recess, returning the week of November 10.

Senate:

The Senate is in recess, returning the week of November 10.

White House:

On Monday, the president will meet with the lead financial regulators at the White House for a discussion on the economy and to receive an update on implementation of Wall Street Reform. In the afternoon, the president will meet with members of his national security team and senior staff to receive an update on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the administration’s response efforts.  In the evening, President Obama will attend a DNC roundtable in Washington.

On Tuesday, president will travel to New York to attend DNC events. Following these events, the president will travel to Greenwich, Conn. to attend a DSCC event.

On Wednesday, the president will travel to the Pentagon where he will both meet with his combatant commanders and hold a meeting with his national security team to receive an update on the campaign to combat ISIL.

On Thursday, the President will travel to Los Angeles to attend a DNC event.

On Friday, the president will travel to San Francisco to attend a DNC event.

On Saturday, while in San Francisco, President Obama will attend a DNC roundtable. Following these events, he will return to Washington in the afternoon.

Supreme Court:

The Supreme Court’s October term begins today. The Court has already decided it will not hear any of the challenges to same-sex marriage this year, meaning lower court rulings striking down bans will hold. A more complete preview of what may come before it is available here.

Latino Families Support Marriage Equality

Our friends at Why Marriage Matters Colorado have debuted a new video just in time for Hispanic Heritage Month.

The video features Ray Rodriguez and his family. He shares how he came out to his family and their unconditional support for him—and the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. Latino families are stronger together, which is exactly what Ray found after his family showed him endless love and support.

Enjoy!

In Colorado, the Fight for Marriage Equality Also Includes Fighting for Immigration Reform

Guest blog post by Dave Montez, Executive Director, One Colorado and Julien Ross, Executive Director, Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition

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An October immigration reform rally also included LGBT allies.

If the past few months have shown us anything, it’s that advocates for equality have the momentum on their side in every corner of the country. And with groups like One Colorado and the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition working day in and day out to ensure all of our families have the dignity and protections they need, the fight to secure the freedom to marry and comprehensive immigration reform is in full swing.

Most recently, state LGBT advocacy group One Colorado has been watching the two marriage equality cases in Utah and Oklahoma that are making their way to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Colorado. We’ve also traveled all across the state to hear from LGBT Coloradans and their allies. During every single visit of this statewide tour, the message was crystal clear: thousands of families across Colorado are counting on us to make certain we are victorious in our efforts.

We know there are multiple paths available to overturn our state’s constitutional ban on marriage equality, which could happen either through the courts or by a vote of the people. Our goal is to achieve the freedom to marry for all Coloradans as quickly as possible, but we also want to make sure that our victory endures.

Each pathway requires different strategies. However, there is one element they all share: the need for a robust public education campaign that reaches Coloradans in their own communities. Victories in other states have proven that our families’ stories of love and commitment connect with people in a powerful way. We also know that in the Latino community, we’ve been taught to treat others the way we want to be treated, and we don’t turn our backs on family.

Undocumented and Unafraid

Undocumented queer youth outside the Supreme Court last year.

In many ways, Latino families are at the center of this important discussion. According to a 2012 report co-authored by the Movement Advancement Project, Family Equality Council, and Center for American Progress, Latino gay and lesbian couples are more likely to be raising children than white gay and lesbian couples. For these families who are trying to take care of each other, there is no question that marriage is a Latino issue.

Importantly, recent studies and polls have shown strong Latino support for marriage equality, including a national survey in 2013 by the Public Religion Research Institute, which found that a majority – 55 percent – of Hispanics favor allowing gay and lesbian Americans to marry.

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NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía calls for marriage equality outside the Supreme Court.

This growth in support for LGBT people and issues is coming not just from Latino families, but also from community leaders and national organizations like the National Council of La Raza and LULAC – both of which have come out in strong support for the freedom to marry.

There’s also no doubt that media coverage of our families and our stories has made a big difference. We know that media in English and Spanish can provide an important way to reach people, and that’s why here in Colorado, we will continue to lift up these stories and demonstrate why marriage matters to all of our families – gay and straight alike.

Immigration FamiliesThe freedom to marry is not the only issue that impacts Latino families. As part of our work, we must commit ourselves to fighting for every member of our community. Now is the time to push harder than ever to ensure that the millions of immigrants in our country, including an estimated 267,000 undocumented individuals who identify as LGBT, are fully integrated into our society – so that they can see their identities as a blessing and an opportunity for personal and community growth. Their experiences are a testament to the fact that immigration is an LGBT issue, and their stories must be told.

These efforts to educate the public and make the case for opportunity need to happen now. Because when the freedom to marry and comprehensive immigration reform are a reality, we need to have built as much support as possible for our families. Creating that climate across our state is critical to winning and sustaining our victories. A welcoming environment is also an important factor in helping our families integrate into their communities.

Our organizations are as committed as ever to ensuring that all families in Colorado are treated with dignity and respect. One way or another, we know that full equality is coming to Colorado; it’s not a question of “if,” only a matter of when and how.

The Steady Progress of Marriage Equality

By Edward Carlson, Policy Analyst, Civil Rights Policy Project, NCLR

Marriage Equality

Today, the New Mexico Supreme Court handed down a ruling that legalized same-sex marriage in the “Land of Enchantment. It is now the 17th state, plus Washington, DC., to have done so. Last month, Hawaii became the 15th state to allow same-sex marriage.  In a fitting tribute to a state that began the controversy nearly decades ago, Hawaii came full circle when its governor signed its same-sex marriage bill into law.  Not to be outdone, more than 4,000 miles away, the Illinois legislature passed its own a same-sex marriage bill and was signed by the governor, making it number 16.  In short, it has been a magnanimous two months for same-sex couples, some of whom have waited years to have their love for each other recognized by the state.

This was also, without a doubt, a victory for the Hispanic community.  Both Hawaii and Illinois are states with growing Hispanic populations, and New Mexico’s Latino community is also a vibrant presence in the state.  In Hawaii, while “the state’s overall population has increased by just 12 percent since 2010, the Latino population has surged by 38 percent.”  In Illinois, the growth is even more pronounced.  The Hispanic community makes up 16 percent of the total population in the state, and between 2000 and 2010 there was 32 percent growth.

But this is really a victory for everyone.  When rights are denied or people are treated differently based on immutable qualities, everyone is impacted.  Illinois, for example, already had civil marriage for same-sex couples, which gave them all the rights and responsibilities of marriage, but the law did not recognize them as married before the state.  Besides the confusion that this can cause in state agencies when same-sex marriage partners apply for benefits, there is something inherently wrong with having separate but equal institutions to unite people.  There is also something grossly unfair about the federal and state governments not recognizing people who want to dedicate their lives to each other.  Continue reading