Fierce

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor Married A Gay Couple And It Was The Sweetest Thing

Catherine Pino and Ingrid Duran are not your typical Washington, D.C. bureaucrats. Not only are these powerful women two of the only Latinx women to own their own consulting firm, but they are definitely some of the only women to do so while being married to each other. Pino and Duran founded D&P Creative Strategies in 2004, long before the wave of acceptance of LGBTQ  swept the American consciousness. “We created our company in 2004 because we both really wanted to strengthen and advance the relationship between the LGBTQ and the Latino communities because at the time it was very different than it is today,” Duran said in an interview with Affinity magazine. “It was important for us to build a strong bridge between the two and change the narrative.”

Duran and Pino’s mission is one that doesn’t get enough attention within the Latinx community.

But according to Duran and Pino, they have methods to tackle that. Their consulting firm specifically aims to “[increase] the role of corporate, legislative and philanthropic efforts in addressing the concerns of Latinos, women, and gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) communities”. When they founded their firm, they made waves for deciding to take the D.C. political world head-on as an out lesbian couple. “If businesses don’t want to work with us because we’re gay, then we don’t want to work with them,” said Duran to LGBTQ Nation.

But back in 2004, although Duran and Pino were out-and-proud, they were not legally allowed to authenticate their bond in the United States because, at the time, same-sex marriage was illegal. But in 2015, that all changed. Their friend Justice Sonia Sotomayor invited them to hear the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges case at the Supreme Court–the decision that ruled that marriage was a fundamental right of all Americans–including for gay couples. Four months later, they reunited with Justice Sotomayor. This time, however, the honorable judge was officiating their wedding.

Although they appear so comfortable with their identities now, navigating their identities as lesbian Latinas has not always an easy journey for Duran and Pino.

@LatinosLead / Twitter

When they were younger, their families’ struggled to come to terms with their daughters living a “non-traditional” lifestyle. Pino’s family, in particular, had trouble coming to terms with her sexuality. Raised in a conservative Catholic family, the idea of having a lesbian daughter was “unheard of,” according to Pino. 

As for Duran, while she thought her family would be understanding by virtue of them being progressive Chicano activists, their reaction was not as open-minded as she had hoped. Her mother believed that she had “done something wrong” in raising Duran and “struggled with what will people think”. “It was a journey for my mom to come around,” said Duran. “But when she did, she came full circle”. 

Perhaps their families’ ultimate changes-of-heart gave these women the confidence to believe the Latinx community was capable of change as well. These women are nothing but optimists about the future of America and the possibility of change. Speaking about the current administration’s policy towards Latinos, Pino doesn’t seem to be worried in the least. “Now is not the time to take the foot off the gas,” she said to LGBTQ nation. “I firmly believe in my heart that this too shall pass…We just both very much feel that we need to do as much as we can where we can and just keep working hard on these issues.”And working on the issues, they have. 

In 2015, the couple partnered with The Freedom to Marry initiative to create the campaign “Familia es Familia”. 

The campaign was “a national public education campaign” targeted towards the Latino community with the goal of normalizing the idea of marriage equality. According to the women, it is some of the work they are most proud of. As for what’s next, D&P Creative Strategies appears to be actively involved in campaigns promoting Digital Literacy, net neutrality, Latinx media representation, and supporting Latinx businesses. In this day and age of political grandstanding and empty promises, it’s inspiring to see Catherine Pino and Ingrid Duran walking the walk. 

Pino and Duran also use their platform to educate the Latinx community about issues that are close to their hearts. They created the production company “Brown Beauty Productions” as a means to “invite Latinos in the United States to tell their innovative and inspiring stories”. They have produced numerous documentaries for HBO regarding POC and LGBT issues like “The Latino List” “The Out List” and “The Trans List”. All of these happen to be projects providing information, insight, and a human angle to stories that aren’t always told in mainstream media. In other words, these ladies are working at changing the culture from every angle. They are an inspirational example to every queer Latinx person out there that the sky is the limit. 

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Ben Affleck Gets Candid About the ‘Racist, Sexist’ Attacks JLo Faced When They Were Together

Entertainment

Ben Affleck Gets Candid About the ‘Racist, Sexist’ Attacks JLo Faced When They Were Together

Photo via Getty Images

Ben Affleck is opening up about the early 2000s when he and Jennifer Lopez were Hollywood’s It Couple. The duo–formerly known by the moniker “Bennifer”–captivated the world with their glamourous and somewhat surprising courtship.

But the relationship eventually unraveled under the intense pressure of public scrutiny.

In a recent podcast appearance, Affleck revealed just how terrible and racially-charged the criticism on their relationship was.

“People were so f–king mean about her,” he said on The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast. “Sexist, racist, ugly, vicious s–t was written about her in ways that if you wrote it now, you would literally be fired for saying those things you said.”

“At first At first it was like Dick and Liz [Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor], it was this sort of infatuation: ‘What an interesting couple‘. And then there was a ton of resentment. A ton of resentment against me, a ton of resentment against Jennifer.”

He went on to explain that what was so fascinating about the relationship to the general public–namely, how they had such vastly different backgrounds–wasn’t something he thought twice about.

Affleck went on to sing JLo’s praises, saying that she deserves all of the praise and adulation she now receives.

“Now it’s like, she’s lionized and respected for the work she did, where she came from, what she accomplished–as well she f**king should be!” he said.

“She was very much like the kind of girl I went to high school with,” he explained. “It was a very socioeconomically mixed, ethnically mixed place–those kinds of differences that just seem to shock America were meaningless to me.”

“I would say you have a better shot, coming from the Bronx, of ending up as like [Justice Sonia] Sotomayor on the Supreme Court than you do of having Jennifer Lopez’s career and being who she is at 50 years old today…just on a pure odds level.”

He concluded: “I never met anyone who worked harder than Jennifer Lopez.” On that, we can definitely agree.

Jennifer Lopez has also been candid about how traumatic the public response was back then to her relationship with Ben Affleck.

“I was eviscerated,” she told Vanity Fair in 2017 about the media coverage of her and Ben’s relationship we well as their much-maligned film, “Gigli”. “I lost my sense of self, questioned if I belonged in this business, thought maybe I did suck at everything. And my relationship [with Affleck] self-destructed in front of the entire world. It was a two-year thing for me until I picked myself up again.”

But now, it appears they’re both in happier places. Ben Affleck has two children with his ex-wife, Jennifer Garner and JLo is happily engaged to Alex Rodriguez.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

The Dominican Republic Finally Outlaws Child Marriage After Years of Campaigning by Girls’ Rights Activists

Fierce

The Dominican Republic Finally Outlaws Child Marriage After Years of Campaigning by Girls’ Rights Activists

Image via Getty

Outside of the U.S., some good news has occurred amidst a week that has otherwise been full of mayhem and chaos.

On Wednesday, the Dominican Republic’s Executive Branch approved a law that unilaterally bans child marriage in its country.

In the past, children younger than 18 were allowed to marry with a special exemption from a judge. These exemptions happened often. Now, no woman or man under the age of 18 are allowed to marry under any circumstances in the Dominican Republic.

This move is significant because the Dominican Republic has the highest rates of child marriage in Latin America and the Caribbean. Official government figures show that 36% of Dominican girls and adolescents marry or enter into “unions” before the age of 18. In 12% of these relationships, the female partner was less than 15 years old.

More informal “unions” where a girl simply moves into an older man’s household are also common in the DR. These are very common in higher poverty communities where many girls are considered a financial burden on their families. Unions like these will be harder to penalize because there is no formal documentation of their partnership.

There are multiple factors that play into the Dominican Republic’s high child marriage rate.

One of the main factors is the culture of machismo that informs the way that young men and women approach relationships.

According to research conducted by Plan International, 81% of Dominican girls said they preferred men that were five years older than them. This statistic is in stark contrest to 39% of Dominican men who prefer their partners 18 or younger because they found them more “obedient” and “adaptable”.

Not only that, but there is also a strong cultural expectation for girls and women to become mothers and wives. These cultural beliefs have simply stoked the practice of child marriage.

“Child marriage and early unions are seen as normal in society. It is driven by machismo that sees the role of a woman to be just a mother and wife,” said Rosa Elcarte, UNICEF’s representative in the Dominican Republic, to the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “Ending early unions will require years of work to change cultural norms.”

Feminists and human rights activists consider this law a win after many years campaigning to put an end to this practice.

But on a bittersweet note, many advocates realize that one law doesn’t dismantle the patriarchal structure of their culture that enabled this practice for so long. There is still a lot of work to be done.

“Our girls and adolescents will be protected … and cannot be forced into marriage in their childhood or adolescence, which in the past was often carried out by parents and legally allowed,” said Sonia Hernandez, an associate director of the International Justice Mission, in a statement to NBC News.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com