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Gay Rights: Majority Of Latinos Say Homosexuality 'Should Be Accepted'

Posted: 04/ 6/2012 12:09 pm Updated: 04/ 8/2012 7:36 pm

Gay Latino

A study released by the Pew Hispanic Center on Wednesday found that 59 percent of U.S. Latinos say homosexuality should be accepted by society. Second generation Hispanics go further, with 68 percent of those surveyed saying the same.

The study comes just a week after internal documents from the National Organization of Marriage were made public which revealed NOM's strategy of pitting Latinos against gay equality in order to pass a ban on gay marriage in Maine.

According to a report by The San Francisco Chronicle, the internal documents, "describe a strategy to make opposition to same-sex marriage 'a key badge of Latino identity' and 'a badge of youth rebellion to conformist assimilation to the bad side of Anglo culture."

Furthermore, the documents outlined the strategy to "drive a wedge between gays and blacks - two key Democratic constituencies," and utilize "glamorous, young Latinos and Latinas, especially artists, actors, musicians, athletes, writers and other celebrities willing to stand up for marriage."

But Pew's numbers reveal that NOM might be fighting a losing battle. According to Pew, the percentage of Latinos who support gay equality line up pretty evenly with the general public. Reflecting trends in the non-Latino public, younger Latinos are more likely to be accepting of homosexuality than older Latinos, according to the study.

69 percent of 18-29 year olds and 60 percent of 30-49 year olds say that homosexuality should be accepted by society.

However, for Latinos, where you were born seems to be correlated with your thoughts on the issue, according to the study.

53 percent of foreign-born Latinos in the U.S. say homosexuality should be accepted, where as 68 percent of second generation Latinos say the same. But as Latin American immigration slows, and more Latinos are native born, some believe that the proportion of Latinos born abroad will fall even further in coming years.

HuffPost LatinoVoices blogger Eric Rodriguez wrote that NOM's strategy with Latinos will surely fail.

"Latinos are not foolish enough to believe that NOM has our best interests at heart. And.. despite what NOM may think, the Latino community overwhelmingly supports LGBT equality," Rodriguez wrote.

SLIDESHOW: Gay Latinos Breaking Barriers

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  • Charles Rice-Gonzalez

    Charles Rice-Gonzalez, born in Puerto Rico, is a writer and LGBT activist. He published his first novel, "Chulito," in October. Set in the Bronx, where Rice-Gonzalez grew up, "Chulito" (cutie) is a coming out story about a young Latino who grows up in an environment that is very oppressive of gay culture. His second book, which he is currently working on, shares a similar focus on the queer Latino community, though the story will take place in the South Bronx. Rice-Gonzalez is also an active playwright and has had his work published in a variety of reviews and anthologies.

  • Roland Palencia

    Roland Palencia is an activist who represents a variety of populations from the undocumented to the uninsured to the LGBT community. Palencia, who is Guatemalan, currently works as the community benefits director at the L.A. Care Health Plan. He retained the position of executive director of Equality California, which was a major powerhouse in the opposition of Proposition 8, but resigned a few months into the job in October. Palencia also served as the vice president and chief of operations of the international AIDS Healthcare Foundation from 1992 to 1998. Aside from his full-time positions, Palencia has also founded a number of community-based organizations, such as Gay and Lesbian Latinos, and serves on the board of others including HONOR PAC, the LGBT Latino Political Action Committee.

  • Ricky Martin

    Singer Ricky Martin began his career at an early age with the teen group Menudo. Once he reached 18 and finished high school in Puerto Rico, Martin relocated to New York to launch his solo career, releasing his first album in 1988. But he didn't achieve international fame until the debut of his first English single, "Living? La Vida Loco," which helped bring Latino culture into mainstream pop music. Martin first came out to the public in 2010 after posting a statement on his website. Since then, he has taken up the crusade as a gay Latino advocate, often speaking out on issues that effect both communities.

  • Jarrett Barrios

    Cuban-American Jarrett Barrios (pictured here with Gavin Creel, right) is the former president and chief executive officer of GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. He began his professional career as an attorney, before turning on a political path and rising to the Massachusetts State Senate. Barrios held dual honors as the first Latino and first openly gay man elected to the Massachusetts Senate. In this position, he spearheaded the legislation for equal marriage rights in Massachusetts. When the state became the first in the nation to allow same-sex marriage, Barrios married his partner and became one of the first elected officials in the country to do so. Barrios currently serves as the chief executive of operations/regional executive at the American Red Cross in Massachusetts.

  • Jesus Ramirez-Valles

    Jesus Ramirez-Valles, born in Mexico, is a scholar and an advocate for Latino and LGBT health. Currently a professor of public health at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Ramirez-Valles has worked in the public health field in the U.S. and Latin America for more than 20 years and holds a Ph.D. and a M.P.H. Ramirez-Valles published his first book, "Companeros: Latino Activists in the Face of Aids," in 2011, but has also authored and co-authored numerous research papers on gay Latino men. Ramirez-Valles also has experience as a filmmaker. His 2007 documentary, "Tal Como Somos," (Just as We Are), was selected for several international and national LGBT film festivals.

  • Jose Gutierrez

    Jose Gutierrez is the founder and president of the Latino GLBT History Project, a non-profit organization that preserves and educates the history of the gay Latino population. Working as a human rights and AIDS activist since 1989, Gutierrez advocates for the gay Latino community. He organized the first DC Latino Pride in 2007, which has since become an annual celebration. He also works at LA Clinica Del Pueblo and serves a member of the LGBT advisory committee for the mayor of Washington, D.C.

  • Jorge Gutierrez

    As a child, Jorge Gutierrez was brought across the U.S.-Mexico border by his parents illegally. Today, he works as an undocumented queer activist, trying to bridge the gap between LGBT and pro-immigration groups. His efforts have been focused primarily on the DREAM Act movement. Gutierrez currently serves on the board of directors of United We Dream, an immigrant youth-led organization with a focus on equal access to higher education for all. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/14/undocumented-queer-latino-teens_n_1270994.html" target="_hplink">Check out Jorge Gutierrez's full story.</a>

  • Jorge Amaro

    Los Angeles native Jorge Amaro (pictured here with Kathy Griffin) is a LGBT and Latino rights activist. Amaro actively advocates for members of the gay Latino community online, often taking to the blogs to proclaim his pride as a gay man with Mexican roots. He currently serves as the communications manager for Equality California, the major opponent of Proposition 8.

  • Anthony D. Romero

    Anthony Romero, of Puerto Rican descent, is an attorney with a background in public-interest activism. He currently serves as the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union -- a role he took four days before 9/11 -- and is the first Latino and openly gay man to hold the position. Romero was named one of Time Magazine's 25 Most Influential Hispanics in America in 2005 and was also featured in the recent <em>HBO</em> documentary "The Latino List."

  • Larry Baza

    Larry Baza, of Mexican and Chamorro heritage, is a LGBT and Latino rights activist. His first forte into the arena was with the Gay Liberation Movement's opposition of the Briggs Initiative, a California proposition of a ban of gays and lesbians from working in public schools. He produced the first major AIDS fundraiser in the arts community, Artists for Aids Assistance, and has served as executive director and board member of a number of California-based arts organizations. Baza currently serves as immediate past-president and board member of the San Diego Democratic Club. He currently serves on the City of San Diego Commission for Arts & Culture, he is also a past board member of Honor PAC, the first statewide Latino LGBT political action committee in California. <em><strong>CORRECTION</strong>: An earlier version of this slide identified Baza as Executive Vice President of the San Diego Democratic Club.</em>

  • Perez Hilton

    Perez Hilton, whose actual name is Mario Armando Lavandeira, Jr., has made himself a household name for celebrity-news junkies with his blog, Perezhilton.com. Through his website, Hilton often calls out celebrities and members of the entertainment industry for everything from their fashion sense to discriminatory remarks made. In 2009, Hilton was named "Hispanic of the Year" by Hispanic magazine.

CORRECTION: A prior version of this article stated that "69 percent of 18-29 year olds and 60 percent of 30-49 year olds say that gay marriage should be accepted." In actuality, the study found that 69 percent of 18-29 year olds and 60 percent of 30-49 year olds said that homosexuality should be accepted.

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