It’s About Family

By Octavio Espinal, Associate Director, Office of the President, NCLR

Octavio and Eric
My partner Eric (right) and I at the 2012 NCLR ALMA Awards

Familia es familia.  Family is family.

These words have never been truer than they are right now.  I am in a loving, committed relationship, and having the support of my entire family has strengthened mine and Eric’s affection for each other.  It has brought us all closer together.  But my family does not extend their unconditional love and support because I’m gay.  Whether straight, gay, bisexual, or transgender, I have their support because they recognize that family matters above all else.

Family support is a cultural value that I’m proud to say is a hallmark of the Latino community.  For my family and countless others, it doesn’t make sense, nor is it acceptable, for them to deny one of their own simply because of who they love.  Rather, they have opened their arms and their homes to Eric precisely because he is who I love, not in spite of it.

And my family is not alone.  Recent polling indicates that a majority of Latinos in the United States support LGBT equality.  In fact, just last year, NCLR, in conjunction with the Arcus Foundation, published a survey which shows that a majority of the Latino community supports same-sex marriage.  This is no coincidence.  This is who we are as a people.

This week, as the Supreme Court hears oral arguments on two landmark cases that could finally make same-sex marriage legal, I hope the justices heed those three little words:  family is family.  I hope they take to heart what my sister and brother-in-law so bravely said to the world in the advertisement below.  When they do, they will understand why the Latino community overwhelmingly supports its LGBT brothers and sisters.


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