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Families Celebrate Latino Gay Pride

Eastern Group Publications, News Report, Irantzu Pujadas Posted: Jun 09, 2008

The park at the East Los Angeles Civic Center was the site last weekend for a festive gathering attended by dozens of gay men and women and their families. They celebrated last months California Supreme Court decision making way for same-sex marriages in the Golden State.

The Latino Family Pride Day, organized by the Latino Coalition for Justice and sponsored by L.A, County Supervisor Gloria Molina, is the first event of its kind in the East Los Angeles area, according to organizers, where fathers, mothers, uncles, grandparents and siblings gather to support their homosexual loved-ones.

latino gayThe events organizers emphasized the importance of the Courts decision, calling it a matter of equality and civil rights.

The California Supreme Court made a decision that we had been waiting for for a long time, said Richard Zaldivar, director and president of The Wall-Las Memorias project. We must carry the justice and civil rights flag for all those in the community, he said.

Zaldivar emphasized the important role families play in the Latino community, describing the community as full of emotion, passion, pride, and Gods love. The only way to fight against discrimination is doing it from the bosom of the family, from the bosom of the community, Zaldivar said.

As a group, Latinos have often suffered discrimination, according to the events organizers. And it is that experience people must remember as they become aware of the needs and rights gay Latinos in East Los Angeles are fighting for, they added.

Gay rights activist Christine Chavez, said that it is important to gather in family and celebrate, adding that, although it is seldom mentioned, her grandfather labor leader Cesar Chavez was a major supporter of the gay and lesbian community.

For years, the gay and lesbian community supported the boycotts and marches organized in favor of farm workers, stated Chavez. I know that if Cesar Chavez were alive, he would be an important promoter of marriage equality.

Members of the homosexual community shared their experiences with the attendees. Transgender Mariana Marroquin said that family is the most important support that any person can get. Along with her mother, Marroquin encouraged the public and all those who have left their homes to keep in close contact with their families.

It has not been easy, Marroquin said. There have been moments of fear and anguish not knowing about the future a woman like me can face, she said. But, thanks to my family, who has always been there for me, I am here now.

Marroquins mother said that parents and families need a lot of support and that discovering your child or sibling is gay could also be a very difficult experience.

I invite parents to accept their children as they are, she said. To share their success, good times and sadness and they will realize how they will feel about it, she said. Do not lose your children because they can suffer without your support.

For many of the gay couples at the picnic, the prospect of being allowed to legally marry is something they have been long awaiting. But for other couples, like Ramiro Vayan and Nelson Lopez, together for only nine months, marriage is not yet in their future, but they openly support the courts decision.

We completely favor same-sex marriage, Vayan said. We all have hearts and want to share our lives with another person, he said. We are still thinking about it.

Groups opposed to the courts decision have qualified a proposition for the November ballot seeking to amend Californias constitution to state that marriage can only take place between a man and a woman. Voters will decide the issue, however, if approved, , another court battle can be expected.

Yesterday, Californias highest court refused to stay its decision legalizing same-sex marriage, removing the final hurdle preventing the issuing of marriage licenses in the state.

Related Articles:

Gay Latinos Celebrate Marriage Ruling

Be Gay, Be Anything You Want Just Not Single

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Gay Marriage, the Black Church & the Mainstream Media

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