Ileana Ross Lehtinen has given a voice to those silenced by the society’s restrictions and antiquated ideas of sexism and racism. On July 15, 1952, Ileana Lehtinen was born in Havanna, Cuba. In 1989, Ros Lehtinen made history by becoming the first Cuban American and Latin American woman elected into Congress, as well as holding many other titles which recognize her immense impact in Florida and the nation. Regardless of the political controversy, she knew that she would stir up within Congress, she persevered becoming an important figure in the same-sex marriage campaign.
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s controversial support of gay marriage during a period of time where she faced great risks makes her the most gallant political figure of her time.
Perhaps the most significant argument that makes Ileana’s campaign stand out is that her own party had strong contrary opinions. Ileana was a member of the Republican party, which did not agree with her position on gay marriage. The Republican party stands behind a traditional definition of marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman.
Of the 289 Republicans holding office in Congress, Ileana Ros Lehtinen was the first Republican to agree with the current president at the time Barack Obama. Along with her admired motivation, many Republican voters which share the traditional Republican belief put Ileana at risk in the election. “Ileana has always stood for human dignity and freedom,” Lincoln Diaz-Balart, a former Florida congressman, and the CHLI chairman said in a statement.
‘The oppressed throughout the world have never had a better friend.
” Despite the opposing view of her party she had fixed ideas and not only was she not going to sway her opinion, but she became a key advocate for the LGBT cause. The Huffington Post conducted a poll proving that 60 percent of right-wing Millennials are in favor of same-sex marriage, with only 38 percent opposed. This age discrepancy is also evident on the left, with 87 percent of Democratic Millennials supporting same-sex marriage. This rapid growth in acceptance throughout America should be represented in those we chose to represent our changing positions on important issues. Ileana’s course of action, to promote same-sex marriage was in favor of the public’s interest and has already immensely impacted the rights gay couples hold.
Moreover, Ileana Ross’ actions led to 37 states allowing gay marriage after the Obergetell vs. Hodgeson Supreme Court case on June 26, 2015. The 5–4 ruling requires all fifty states to perform and recognize the marriages of same-sex couples on the same terms and conditions as the marriages of opposite-sex couples, with all the accompanying rights and responsibilities. ‘The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach,’ the Court declared, ‘a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity.’ A recent poll concluded that if you add those in favor of civil unions but not gay marriage, the number shoots up to around 72% of American citizens, opposed to the 1/3 of respondents believing gay couples should not have rights at all. Consequently, although receiving praise from the LGBT community, she faced serious tension from her fellow Republican party which condemns of her ideals.
Overall, she wants an equal and accepting country where you can feel safe and be guaranteed the basic rights matrimony as much as every other woman and man. Ileana Ross Lehtinen has not only had an influence in the United States Congress but has also had an impact on the acceptance and tolerance for equal rights throughout America. Her campaigning and voicing out her opinion in a world where opposing views are not respected and welcome makes her a brave candidate. She will not be silenced, not by her fellow Republican party, not by homophobic ideals, and certainly not by the risks, because now she proudly represents the voice for gay marriage.