Latino New Yorkers Back Marriage Equality Bill

by Michael K. Lavers
National News Editor
Wednesday Jun 8, 2011

Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez joined New York City Councilmember Rosie Mendez and other Latino elected officials, activists and clergy on the steps of New York City Hall on Wednesday, June 8, to urge state lawmakers to pass a marriage equality bill.

"This is important because this is a civil rights issue," said Velázquez. "This is a human rights issue."

Velázquez and others who spoke in lower Manhattan stressed not all Latinos oppose marriage equality. State Sen. Ruben Diaz, Sr., [D-Bronx] and the National Organization for Marriage organized an anti-marriage equality rally in the Bronx last month. The outspoken legislator has also called for a boycott of New York's largest Spanish-language newspaper, "El Diario La Prensa" because it editorialized in support of marriage equality.

"There have been a few Latinos who have been given voice to this issue and will lead you to believe that New Yorkers do not support gay marriage or same-sex marriage," said Mendez, speaking in Spanish.

A Quinnipiac University poll last week showed 58 percent of New Yorkers support marriage equality. Governor Andrew Cuomo has repeatedly said nuptials for same-sex couples remains one of his top legislative priorities, but he maintains he will not introduce a marriage equality bill until he is assured it has enough votes to pass.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn joined City Councilmember Daniel Dromm [D-Jackson Heights] and others at a Queens press conference earlier this afternoon to urge undecided state lawmakers to support marriage equality. The current legislative session is scheduled to end on June 20.

"I pray that everyone votes in favor [of a marriage equality bill,]" Pastor Fabian Arias of the Zion Lutheran Church in Spanish Harlem told EDGE. "I hope and pray they say yes to this law."

Based in Washington, D.C., Michael K. Lavers has appeared in the New York Times, BBC, WNYC, Huffington Post, Village Voice, Advocate and other mainstream and LGBT media outlets. He is an unapologetic political junkie who thoroughly enjoys living inside the Beltway.


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