By: Kenneth Raices
On October 17, 2014 three panelist’s interviewed about the controversy of same sex marriage at University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez. The panelist’s Gustavo Vázquez, UPRM psychology student; Ricardo Ferrer, member of The Gay Straight Alliance at UPRM; and Yolanda Arroyo, author and activist for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transvestite and Transsexual rights.
The LGBTT community is making a big movement in every country state and region. One of the most recent movements is happening right here in Puerto Rico where our invited panelist Yolanda Arroyo is suing Puerto Rico’s government so that same sex marriage is accepted and legalized. Yolanda rejects that same sex marriage contributes to the breakdown of the family union: “I don’t care; I’m fighting for this to happen”.
GSA member Ricardo Ferrer said they are dedicated to educate society about homosexuality and marriage of the same sex and that same sex marriage approval represents freedom and equality in society. Ferrer mentioned interracial marriage, which was forbidden until 1967. While Gustavo Vázquez said no, “No battle is won by one war”. This has been a controversy seen here in the island where even the Governor, Alejandro Garcia Padilla has stated he does not favor same sex marriages but if the Supreme Court approves them, his administration and he will respect the decision.
On October 19, 2014 the Supreme Court made the decision of not to legalize the right to get married and the news made all the front pages in local newspapers. In an interview published in El Nuevo Dia on October 21, Melissa Mark Viverito, president of the New York council, said she is not happy with this decision made in the island of P.R but she believes that it will happen sooner or later.
The case is going to be seen in the court of Boston at a point when 32 states in the U.S recognize same-sex marriage. This is not only being seen in Puerto Rico, it’s an international movement. LGBTT people are fighting for rights, they are being persistent and in time it will be approved 100 percent, said Yolanda Arroyo about this case and all the cases that are being seen around the world. Not legalizing same-sex marriage is thought to be a discrimination just like interracial marriages where back in 1967. In an article at The Huffingtone Post researchers said that legalizing same sex marriages could have advantages like the numbers of child adoptions would increase rapidly because these couples cannot pro-create.
One of the most recent studies at a University in Texas argues that if same sex marriage is legalized, it could boost up the economy. Panelist Gustavo Vázquez argued that “would help because of marriages, housing, car and a lot of economy features functioning as boost, injecting fuel”. Yolanda Arroyo did not agree, because in her opinion people today are more independent and would not necessarily want or have to get married.
The interview had one of the most personal and hard questions asked; the question was religious related. Ricardo Ferrer said his sexual orientation did not change or affect in any way his religious believes: he learned that “God will love you no matter what”, and kept repeating it. On the other hand, Gustavo Vázquez said it shouldn’t but it does because people start seeing you in another way.
After the conference finished it was clear that the three panelists only wanted respect and equality; they are not looking for acceptance only justice. Yolanda closed the interview with these brief words, “We are normal, not monsters”.