Editor’s Note: In 2010, Mark Alvarez gave these remarks at the Utah Pride Festival. We’ve decided to reprise them because these important words reflect precisely the true spirit of Pride. In fact, these remarks appear that much more timely in 2012, given President Obama’s recent historic statement, the slow yet irreversible progress witnessed in states and at various court levels, and the body of public opinion polling that indicates unprecedented levels of support for marriage equality.
The change is profound on many fronts even while some partisans would prefer to drive a wedge among diverse constituencies and dampen their enthusiasm for participation in the political process (see here and here).
The evidence clearly points otherwise as seen here. Most importantly, however, as Jeff Krehely at The Center for American Progress writes, ‘the movement for equality certainly extends beyond marriage, and it is important for the public conversation to acknowledge that fact.’
Alvarez’s remarks are on point as ever, as he reflects upon Robert Penn Warren’s line: ‘The law is always too short and too tight for growing humankind.’ Alvarez adds, ‘As society moves toward greater liberty, the laws are catching up. A backwards politics that constrains freedom has an expiration date that rapidly approaches.’
The Selective Echo is proud to reprise his remarks:
Thank you for this conversation. Our history and our future begin with the present.
Salman Rushdie wrote about behalfism. Beware those who speak for races, religions, sexual orientations, constituencies and political parties. They impose conformity on the rich diversity of human experience. Values subjected to political and business interests murder thought.
Let us think independently and individually. Each person can choose her own labels. Reject authority. Especially political authority. Especially in this state. Politicians have nothing on us intellectually, ethically or morally. Let our work be a conversation about values among people. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness provide nice starting points.
A label common to us and perhaps most important is “human being.” Let’s make the most of life, the Nabokovian crack of light between two eternities of darkness. Pride is not about one day. Pride is about every day.
Let’s celebrate liberty. Absent compelling argument in opposition, greater liberty for each and for all should reign. Loving couples deserve liberty to marry. Well-intentioned immigrants deserve liberty to work. Marriage equality and humane immigration reform are aspects of human freedom.
The pursuit of happiness is difficult, especially in times of economic crisis. It makes little sense for humans to make life more difficult for others. Latinos are sometimes thought to be hostile to LGBT rights. Gay Latinos, of which there are many, sometimes feel isolated in their community.
Unfortunately, they frequently feel isolated in the LGBT community. Let’s recognize and respect the great overlap in the Latino and LGBT communities. Overlap and diversity are complementary and enriching.
Put away the stereotypes. From 2007 to 2009, I lived in Mexico City, Mexico. Many LGBT people lived freely and openly. Not only on Calle Amberes and in La Zona Rosa. Now, Mexico City recognizes marriage equality.
Ten years ago, I went to an unofficial wedding ceremony for two men at Bar Claca in Valencia, Spain. Today, that couple could officially marry.
In 1993, I took the Metro from Laurel, Maryland to Washington, D.C. for the March for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation. Equal rights in the U.S.? Still waiting.
Who said Latinos are slow for freedom? Let’s work together for liberty.
Almost twenty percent of Salt Lake City residents speak Spanish at home. Many of us are bilingual. We are lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender and straight.
Estamos aquí para disfrutar del día y para celebrar nuestro orgullo. A veces usamos un lenguaje diferente. Coincidimos en los valores humanos: la vida, la libertad y la búsqueda de la felicidad. Seguimos en el camino. Conocemos las palabras de Antonio Machado:
Caminante, son tus huellas
el camino, y nada más;
caminante, no hay camino,
se hace camino al andar.
(English translation: We are here to enjoy the day and celebrate our pride. Sometimes we use a different language. We agree on human values: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We continue on the path. We know the words of Antonio Machado:
Traveler, your footsteps are
the path, and nothing more;
traveler, there is no path,
the path is made by walking.)
History is a record of humans stumbling and stammering toward greater liberty. We are on the right path. In diverse languages and ways, our challenge is to keep going.
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