Several civil rights groups lead by people of color have added support for gay marriage equality to their official agendas. (Photo : REUTERS)
When President Obama announced his support for equal marriage rights in May, it seems he inspired several national organizations dominated by people of color to adopt a similar progressive attitude. Last month, the NAACP's executive board approved a resolution to officially support gay marriage as part of their civil rights agenda, and now the League of Latin American Citizens (NCLR) and other Latino civil rights, labor and trade groups are following suit.
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Many of the country's most prominent Latino civil rights activists gathered on Sunday for the National Council of La Raza's annual convention in Las Vegas, which featured speakers like David Damien Figueroa, the first openly gay vice president of the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund. Figueroa's story is one of many strong indications that America's Latino population has come a long way in their discussion of supporting gay rights.
Here are some of the most recent facts: An April poll released jointly by the NCLR and Social Science Research Solutions, a public opinion research company, found that Latinos are just a bit more likely than the general public to support the legalization of gay marriage, hate crimes protection legislation, and civil union options for LGBT couples.
The poll shows the results of a survey from early 2011 of 1,001 Latinos age 18 and older. Specifically, 54% of those Latinos expressed support for same-sex marriage. That's compared to a May Gallup poll showing that 53% of the general population supports the legalization of equal marriage rights.
It's not a huge differences, but it's enough to disprove some falsities many Americans believe. Lourdes Rodriguez-Nogues is the president of Dignity USA, a Boston-based organization of LGBT Catholics. She believes the common assumption that communities of color are generally opposed to equal marriage rights is obtuse, and deserves some exploration.
"The data shows much higher levels of support for gay marriage in the Latino community than assumed and often reported," she told a group of primarily Latino activists outside the convention on Sunday. "I think what we are seeing is an issue and a conversation that needs a little more light and air."