LA Mayor Antonion Villaraigosa with his openly gay cousin John A. Perez June 2008 after Perez won his Assembly primary and became the de facto winner of the 46th AD race (Photo by Karen Ocamb)
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa gave his support to a marriage equality plank in the Democratic Party platform at a Politico event in Washington, D.C Wednesday, March 7. As chair of the 2012 Democratic Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, Villaraigosa's endorsement should matter to the delegates. But the question is now: will the longtime supporter of LGBT equality be a fierce advocate and push for the plank or be hands off?
Villaraigosa's very presence as convention chair already is a stark contrast with the Republican Party in the Democrats outreach to critical Latino voters. "They're going to lose the Latino electorate and they're going to lose it for some time," Villaraigosa said, according to Bloomberg News. "This is the first time in modern history that I can recall where a major candidate for either party does not support comprehensive immigration reform."
But some of that Latino electorate may also be swayed by conservative Catholic or evangelical Latino religious leaders more concerned about "traditional" marriage than immigration. In California, Villaraigosa and labor icon Dolores Huerta, co-founder with Cesar Chavez of the United Farmer Workers and Equality California board member, are among the scores of straight Latino political leaders who give lie to the widely held belief that all Latino Catholics oppose marriage equality. Indeed, they are aware that the third most politically powerful person in California - Villaraigosa's cousin John A. Perez - is not allowed the fundamental constitutional right to marry because he is openly gay.
That's surely one reason why Villaraigosa said this on Wednesday: