With the number of Latino voters in the U.S. growing, the Presidential campaigns increasingly have been reaching out to Hispanics. But it's not it's not just candidates seeking Latino backing; gay rights groups have secured the support of the some of the most important Latino organizations in the fight to legalize same-sex marriage.
These groups have lent their support to a bilingual public outreach campaign called Familia es Familia — family is family.
"It is aimed to strengthen Latino voices in building support for acceptance of lesbian and gay family members," says Thalia Zepatos, who works with one of the gay rights groups, Freedom to Marry.
In one video from the campaign, Cristina and Monica, a lesbian couple, explain in Spanish how they met fell in love and married. Another video in English features Ray and Byron Moya, two married gay men who adopted three children.
Twenty-one of the nation's largest and most respected Latino advocacy groups such as La Raza, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the League of United Latin American Citizens have joined the campaign and pledged to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered rights including same sex marriage.
Research from the Pew Hispanic Center shows support is growing among even religious Latinos for gay rights and same sex marriage, says Zepatos.
"Seventy-three percent of Latinos agree that a person can express support for gay rights and still be a good Christian," says Zepatos.
But Bishop Angel Nuñez, pastor of the Bilingual Christian Church in Baltimore, believes statistics can be easily manipulated.
"I don't believe it's a civil rights issue at all. It is a choice issue," Nuñez says.
Nuñez has been at the forefront of the fight against same-sex marriage in Maryland. He argues that while it's necessary to support and love gay people, marriage should only be between a man and a woman.
In the D.C. region, the campaign's message of family was well received at Casa Ruby, a newly-launched District group that provides support to transgender and gay Latinos.
"There are people who are actually alone, people who are really going through their difficult situation because they are actually left out of the family setting," says Ruby Corado, the center's director. "And I think it's extraordinary that we are beginning to have the conversation around our issues."
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