Unlikely Allies? Dream Act and Same-Sex Marriage Advocates Join Forces

With two months until Election Day, a new campaign is launched to win two controversial ballot initiatives.


Casa de Maryland, the state’s largest immigrant advocacy organization, and Equality Maryland, the largest LGBT rights group, have forged an alliance to convince voters to approve same-sex marriage and to allow certain college-bound illegal immigrant students to pay in-state tuition.

Dubbed “Familia es Familia,” the campaign launched Tuesday in Langley Park with advocates framing same-sex marriage and the Maryland Dream Act as kindred causes grounded in a family-first sensibility. The campaign will draw its persuasive power from the personal experiences of young, LGBT immigrants.

Montgomery County Councilwoman Nancy Navarro told the story of her brother Pedro, who came out to her and her sister 17 years ago, reported The Washington Blade

“I am here for my brother Pedro … and for all the brothers and sisters, the daughters, the sons, the cousins, the uncles, the aunts, everybody who we call family. I am here to urge our Latino community to never forget that,” she said, according to The Blade. “We have an opportunity to stand up and give a gift—the gift of dignity and pride and respect and civility to our loved ones.”

With Election Day barely two months away, Casa is planning a direct-mail campaign and will rally support for same-sex marriage at Hispanic Heritage Month festivals in September and October. Equality Maryland will target its constituent bases in Montgomery County and Baltimore in hopes of securing 10,000 LGBT votes in favor of the Dream Act.

“We know the immigrant community is going to be coming out strong to vote, and we’re going to be coming out strong to vote,” said Carrie Evans, Equality Maryland’s executive director. “Both communities are very highly motivated and will have incredible turnout in November.”

The immigrant-LGBT kinship emerged over the past decade, Evans said, as immigrant leaders fought alongside LGBT advocates in Annapolis on hate crimes legislation, anti-discrimination bills and the years of pitched battle that culminated five months ago with Maryland’s same-sex marriage law.

If the law survives November’s referendum, Maryland would be the first state in which voters approve same-sex marriage—succeeding where California fell short four years ago. The failure of California’s Proposition 8 was at first attributed largely to Latino voters. But when researchers and pollsters analyzed the results, Latinos had supported gay marriage as much as white voters had, Evans said.

“There is this perception that because of their religiosity and what people see as social conservatism in the immigrant community, that they don’t support same-sex marriage. But that is not a reality,” Evans said.

An April poll commissioned by the National Council of La Raza and Social Science Research Solutions found that 54 percent of Latinos nationwide support gay marriage. And that support is higher among Maryland’s Catholic Latinos, said Gustavo Torres, Casa’s executive director.

“We are very confident that Latinos understand the value of families,” Torres said. “If we communicate very clearly that someone wants to be married to someone that he or she loves, that’s the most important thing.”

Affirmation of the Dream Act would make Maryland voters the first to approve in-state tuition for undocumented students. The Dream Act referendum is “essential” to the momentum of immigrant-centric issues in Maryland, Torres said—and will serve as a bellwether for observers across the country.

“Everybody recognizes that it is so very critical that we win,” Torres said. “It’s going to send a very strong message at the national level. If we cannot pass the Dream Act in as progressive a state as Maryland, how are we going to pass the Dream Act at the national level? Or comprehensive immigration reform?”

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Bill Hussein O'Stalin September 11, 2012 at 11:39 AM
The fear of voters deciding the issue is irrational.
Buck Harmon September 11, 2012 at 11:45 AM
Your Patch pigeon feathers are beginning to show again Frank...please don't share the ruffle...
Mark Patro September 11, 2012 at 11:47 AM
There is no fear. The Civil marriage Law will be upheld. The argument is that civil right should not be voted on, period.
Bill Hussein O'Stalin September 11, 2012 at 11:54 AM
You mean like the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Okay!
Bob September 11, 2012 at 01:11 PM
Frank - What did Bill say that was "hate"? Steve is accusing any who disagree with being "white supremacist". Why is it that, if you dare to disagree with some, you are labeled a "hater" yet they can disagree all they wish without the same label? Why do you attack the Tea Party while decrying any who would dare to comment against CASA or any LGBT group? Why are you such a hypocrite?
Bill Hussein O'Stalin September 11, 2012 at 01:12 PM
You're right, it was at the federal level and it was not put up to a vote and that was my point. Perhaps you're stupid and you don't realize it.
Mark Patro September 11, 2012 at 01:20 PM
Bill, I don't believe I mentioned the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as something that was voted on. You suggested that. And, the title of this article and at this moment we are referring to Question 6 in Maryland. Does that clear things up. There is no need to be calling people "stupid".
Bill Hussein O'Stalin September 11, 2012 at 01:29 PM
What I meant was the federal government already defined civil rights. Maryland is trying to grant those rights to a select group based on race, therefore it's not about a civil right. As far as calling people stupid I was simply referring to the comment made by Frank. Your liberals supporters have been marginalizing posters here all day by referring to them as stupid and hateful and not a complaint from you. How disingenuous.
Mark Patro September 11, 2012 at 01:34 PM
Well, if you define "Civil Rights" as something only based on race or skin color I would say that there are many people who disagree with you. My version of a civil right is something protected as a right by a civil law. Now granted, some call rights based on sex, sexual orientation and gender identity "Human Rights" which they are, But I also see them as civil rights (just to clear this up a little).
Jeanne September 11, 2012 at 01:36 PM
I am AGAINST illegals getting anything in our country. If you aren't a citizen, on your way to being a citizen, American Indian you do not deserve anything for free, discounted,etc..... I am for same sex marriage, it doesn't effect me when two people get married so I say let them.
Mark Patro September 11, 2012 at 01:36 PM
and about the "stupid" remark...you can look back through my encyclopedia of posts on Patch and you will find that I discourage name calling from both sides on a repetitive basis. I frankly get tire of hearing myself repeat this mantra. Please know the scope if you are going to suggest I am disingenuous.
Bill Hussein O'Stalin September 11, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Correct me if I'm wrong but you clearly state that the fear of same sex marriage is "irrational." No? That's an insult and apparently you engage in it yourself and apparently it's OK for you but not others.
Steve September 11, 2012 at 02:06 PM
CASA hasn't engaged in any voter suppression. It was the poll judges from Help Save Maryland" that were participating in the votes suppression.
Mark Patro September 11, 2012 at 02:11 PM
That is the subject of the attached article link.
Thomas Paine September 11, 2012 at 02:14 PM
"When Casa de Maryland engages in voter suppression it's somehow wonderful." Good point, Bill. Any of the flaming liberals on here care to comment on CASA's attempt to suppress our right to vote on these issues? CASA tried to deny civil/voting rights to thousands (millions?) of Marylanders. Fortunately, they were not successful. And Steve, do you dispute that hispannics are a very large, maybe the largest, certainly the most vocal, group pushing this so-called dream act. Is a person who acknowledges this really a bigot? Name calling really detracts from your credibility.
Steve September 11, 2012 at 02:28 PM
Casa didn't even remotely "...attempt to suppress our right to vote on these issues". Your just parrotting the Hate Group's talking points. The largest most vocal group pushing the DREAM Act has been the Catholic Church.
Corbin Dallas Multipass September 11, 2012 at 03:04 PM
What is there to fear regarding same sex marriage exactly? What is rational about fearing it? I'm afraid of Yetis. No one has ever owned a Yeti as a pet, and while I haven't observed Yetis killing people in Maryland, who knows when they're going to! I feel it is in our interest to pass legislation that outlaws owning Yetis as pets. Yetis have enough rights as free roaming mountain folk - why do they need to be pets as well? And don't you dare try to insult me with your "fearing Yetis is irrational" statements.
Thomas Paine September 11, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Steve, If you call those who oppose your views haters, what label should be applied to you?
Steve September 11, 2012 at 03:23 PM
"Live and Let Live" If two people want to get married let them do it. If someone wants to come here in an attempt to better their lives, let them do it. I don't go out of my way to attack one of the segments of society just because I fear them like the Haters do. Life is too short to spend it being an old, bitter, Bigot. Go plant a tree or something......
Steve September 11, 2012 at 03:41 PM
I think in the case of these "Help Save Maryland" clowns, their hatred is based on fear.
Bill Hussein O'Stalin September 11, 2012 at 06:19 PM
I want to thank Steve and Frank for explaining that Casa de Maryland's attempts are the result of hatred based on fear.
John T. September 11, 2012 at 07:18 PM
Unfortunately, life today is not that simple, especially in an environment of radical islamic terrorists that want to kill Americans at any time opportunity. Anyone that wants to enter this country for an opportunity for a better life is welcome here, but you must do so legally. "Live and let live" - tell that to Al Qaeda.
Steve September 11, 2012 at 07:24 PM
They are not welcome here. Not by any stretch. The average wait for a UK citizen to move here is 7 years. It's even longer for other countries That's not welcoming.
Steve September 11, 2012 at 07:50 PM
If you are a Mexican National the current wait for a Green Card is 16 years. http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_5759.html
Thomas Paine September 11, 2012 at 08:54 PM
So some folks wait 7 years to do it legally? Then please explain why it is just to financially reward those who do it illegally.
Thomas Paine September 11, 2012 at 08:56 PM
I find that very hard to believe. But even if true, why is it just to reward those who break the law, and effectively punish those who follow the law.
Steve September 11, 2012 at 09:24 PM
If you are 22 and have a dream are you going to wait until you are 38 to fulfill it?
Thomas Paine September 11, 2012 at 10:06 PM
So your position Steve is just disregard the law if you can't get what you want fast enough? Sounds like anarchy.
Steve September 11, 2012 at 10:22 PM
50% of the illegal aliens we have in the US today are just visa overstayers. That's not a crime.
Bill Hussein O'Stalin September 12, 2012 at 12:23 PM
Then 50% are lawbreakers but will still get to steal their education from your wallet.


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