By SHALWAH EVANS
The atrium of the Mission Cultural Center was filled with Latino leaders from across the city at noon today for a press conference taking a stand against Proposition 8, which would ban gay marriage.
“It’s about every member of our family,” said Jose Cisneros, San Francisco city treasurer. “It’s about our community. This is a matter to me personally of how we treat everybody in the state.”
Though he was at the meeting as a concerned citizen and not as a representative of the treasurer’s office, Cisneros said that other elected officials have shown support for the gay, lesbian and transgender community. Cisneros and his partner are considering marriage, and he says he is confident that it will still be an option for them after November.
Only a handful of the attendees were married, but many who were single said that simply having the right to do it is the issue. Olga Talamante, a board member for the National Center for Lesbian Rights who has been with her partner for 18 years, said she may never marry, but she wants to have the option.
“What we’re talking about here is civil rights,” she said.
Although she grew up in the Catholic Church, which has a stand against gay marriage, her family has been supportive. She and her partner have always insisted on being open with their families about their sexuality.
Forty-one states have laws banning gay marriage. This issue of same sex marriage was on the ballot in California in 2004 and again in 2007.
Alfredo Pedroza, who works for the mayor, married his partner of eight years on Friday. Two years ago they had a commitment ceremony, but Pedroza said marriage validated their union. “It was our opportunity to let our families know this isn’t any different from my mom and dad sharing their lives together,” he said.
“The only wedding gift we want is for them to vote no on 8 in November,” he said with a smile.