Voice for Equality: Marina Gatto

Bay Area resident Marina Gatto has been a constant fixture in the media as a spokesperson and leader for LGBT community since the age of eight. As a child of two lesbian moms, Ramona and Arzu, Gatto has served as an activist for Equality California/ Marriage Equality California, COLAGE, Immigration Equality, Love Sees No Borders, and GLSEN.

She has made numerous television and documentary appearances on such programs as Nickelodeon's "My Family Is Different" with Rosie O'Donnell and Linda Ellerbee; "The Today Show" with Katie Couric; "The Montel Williams Show"; the ABC Family show "Switched"; the documentaries "Limited Partnerships", "Pursuit of Justice", and "In My Shoes"; the HBO documentary "All Aboard" with Rosie O'Donnell; and countless other news specials and programs. Learn more [Link]

My name is Marina Gatto, and I am 17 years old. I am a leader and civil rights activist. I am an honor roll student, varsity athlete, and a previous class president of my school. I am a child with two parents who love me, and who love each other very much. My parents are two beautiful and amazing lesbian moms. Unlike most other children in the United States, my parents do not have the right to be legally married. Our family is denied basic civil rights.

Like our governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, one of my moms is not from this country. My mom does not have the right to immigrate however, because my parents are a same sex couple. Our family struggles to stay together, knowing that we can be torn apart at any time. While Governor Schwarzenegger is living the "American dream," my family's dream is one of basic civil rights.

I stand here today representing MILLIONS of children nationwide who come from LGBT families. Children like me, whose parents cannot legally marry, whose families do not have the legal protection that marriage brings, and whom are being told that their families are not valued like other families. We are children who must stand by and watch as the leaders of our country vow that no child will be left behind, yet our families are torn apart, devalued and cheated of essential rights that are needed to protect us.

As a child of LGBT parents, I represent millions of other children when I say that we, too, want our parents given the right to marry. Marriage is the ONLY way that my family can stay together and keep me from losing one of my parents. We must not accept the discrimination that President Bush and leaders of this country are forcing upon the LGBT community. We must stand strong in demanding our civil rights, for the sake of the children, who deserve NOTHING less than equality.

Our leaders must be held accountable to lead by example, embrace diversity and equality for ALL people and ALL families. ALL families must be valued, and ALL children must have the right to have both their parents legally recognized. NO child deserves less and NO child should be left behind.
Freedom to Marry salutes Maria Gatto as a Voice for Equality!

**Make your NOMINATION for a Voice for Equality today!