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Know Your Rights
Source: The Advocate
Subject: Immigration
Type: Media Coverage

LGBT Immigrants Welcome Marriage Equality

Gay Latino immigrants in New York are joining in the celebration of their state’s new marriage equality law — and making it clear that homophobic state senator Ruben Díaz Sr. is not a spokesman for their ethnic group.

“Some may have seen Mr. Díaz, a Democrat and a Pentecostal minister, as the Latino representative on the issue, but several same-sex couples in Queens — from Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico — would debate that, if they were not so busy planning their weddings,” The New York Times reports.

“He pretends to speak for all of us, for Latinos, and I really do not think he does,” Colombian native Ana Maria Archila (pictured) said of Díaz, the only Democratic senator to vote against the marriage equality bill last Friday. Archila told the Times that with the passage of the law, she intends to marry her longtime partner.

Since the law confers only state and not federal recognition of same-sex marriage, it won’t solve some immigration-related problems for gay couples — it won’t, for instance, enable a U.S. citizen or legal resident to sponsor a same-sex spouse from another country for legal status here. Immigrants’ rights activists, though, generally welcomed the new law and said progress for LGBT people is also good for immigrants, gay or not.

Archila, who heads an advocacy group for immigrants, told the Times the law “is a step forward in the recognition of people’s humanity. It’s part of this long struggle for civil rights for other groups.” Gay people and immigrants, she said, are “able to understand oppression in ways that other groups may not

Gamaliel Lopez, originally from Mexico, expressed similar sentiments about the legislation, saying, “We are a step closer to finding dignity for immigrants as well.”

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