- February 25, 2013
As a crucial vote in the Illinois House of Representatives approaches, 23 prominent Latino leaders yesterday announced their support for marriage equality in Illinois.
The leaders affirmed their support in an open letter urging lawmakers to approve the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, proclaiming, “no member of anyone’s family, whether they’re gay or straight, should face discrimination when they hope to marry the person they love.”
Notable supporters signing the letter include former City Clerk of Chicago Miguel Del Valle, Executive Director of the Latino Policy Forum Sylvia Puente, and Jesse H. Ruiz, Vice President of the Chicago Board of Education.
The Illinois Senate has already passed marriage equality legislation, which will be heard by the Illinois House Executive Committee this Tuesday. As part of the Illinois Unites for Marriage coalition, HRC has been active on the ground in Illinois supporting field organizing efforts in key legislative districts. Recent polling shows that a majority of Illinoisans support marriage equality for same-sex couples.
“Relationships between Latino same-sex couples have existed for generations, built on trust, loyalty, and love,” the letter stated. “Marriage equality would grant legal recognition to these existing committed relationships. These couples want to marry for the same reason straight couples do – to make a lifetime commitment to the person they love, so that they can care for and protect one another through marriage.”
The strong support for marriage equality by Latino leaders in Illinois is welcome but not surprising. The National Council of La Raza, the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, endorsed marriage equality last year, as did the League of United Latin American Citizens.
We urge all Illinois residents to contact their state representatives in support of marriage equality.