Gay marriage foes, fans try to sway Minnesota LatinosMINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota's growing population of Latino voters are a target for both sides in the campaign over a proposed ban on gay marriage in Minnesota's constitution.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota's growing population of Latino voters are a target for both sides in the campaign over a proposed ban on gay marriage in Minnesota's constitution.
Latinos are overwhelmingly Catholic, and Minnesota's Catholic hierarchy has made passage of the ban a top political priority. But opponents of the ban, which would put an existing statutory ban into the state constitution, say that the Latino community's overall acceptance of gay unions is growing just as it is in the larger population.
Minnesota Public Radio News reports that hundreds of congregants who attend Spanish-language Masses at St. Stephen's Catholic Church in Minneapolis hear a marriage prayer distributed by the local archdiocese. (http://bit.ly/PlbUBF ).
"Grant to us all the gift of courage to proclaim and defend your plan for marriage, which is the union of one man and one woman in a lifelong, exclusive relationship of loving trust, compassion, and generosity, open to the conception of children," the prayer reads in part.
Luis Rubi, a deacon at St. Stephen's, said the prayer and homilies on marriage have been received well.
"I think there's broad support for the amendment," said Rubi, a native of Cuba who came to the United States in 1962 as an infant. A question, though, is how many in the congregation will be able to vote: although 60 percent of Minnesota's Latinos were born in the U.S., St. Stephen's has many new arrivals who aren't citizens. Minnesota has about 100,000 eligible Latino voters.
Opponents of the amendment have also been working to get their message to the Latino community, and said that more Latinos will support legal recognition of same-sex marriage as more people from within the community come out of the closet.
Minnesotans United for All Families, the campaign against the amendment, has been calling Latino voters for support.
Some hang up. One told a volunteer that the Bible forbids homosexuality. Others listen to the pitch. Volunteer Marlene Rojas found one woman who was sympathetic.
"She was saying, 'I support all gays and lesbians so I will vote yes!'" said Rojas. "And I said, 'no, no, no, make sure you vote no.'"
Christian Ucles, Latino outreach coordinator for Minnesotans United, said he tries to draw parallels between the immigrant and gay communities.
"Folks have their own independence," said Ucles, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Honduras. "They have this independence in this country, perhaps not so much in our countries, but in the United States they have the freedom and independence to make up their own mind."