This story was initially created as part of the Marriage Equality Movement Family Story Quilt which premiered at San Francisco City Hall on National Freedom to Marry Day in February 2007, honoring the historic Winter of Love and the 40th anniversary of the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court Loving vs. Virginia decision. These family stories -- created in 2007 -- now have many updates, babies have been born, many couples have gotten legally married in California in 2008, some have divorced, some have won historic union battles and so much more ... stay tuned for updates!
Marina, Ramona & Arzu Gatto
- Ramona and Arzu have been together for 9 years, Marina is their 18 year old daughter
- Ramona and Marina are Latina/Hispanic and Arzu is Turkish
- We live in San Carlos, San Mateo County, CA
My name is Marina Gatto and I am 18 years old. I have two wonderful and loving lesbian moms who have raised me to believe that I could make a difference in the world. From a very young age I realized that my moms and I were second class citizens, and that the laws of our state and country were unequal. Through the realization of these injustices, and from the inspiration of my godfather Assemblymember Mark Leno, at 9 years old, I decided to fight for change, and fight for a community of people who were living without basic civil rights.
I believe that there is great power to make change for my community through politics. I became a visible and vocal activist for my community, educating about a side of our community people rarely gave thought to, its children. As the late San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk once said, "A true function of politics is not just to pass laws, but to give hope." Hope for a community of people desperately needing basic civil rights, long overdue them, rests in the hands of current and future leaders who must lead with fairness and equality for ALL people.
Without the basic right of marriage, families like mine are being torn apart every day. We suffer through incredible injustices, and persevere through tremendous hardship without the legal protections that we need, and that we as a family deserve. Considered a legal stranger to one of my moms, I grew up with the constant fear that if something happened to my biological mom I would immediately be put into foster care. My moms are considered legal strangers to one another, and they do not even have the right to claim each others bodies!
There are WELL over 100,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender families in California alone! Many of whom have children, and continue to face similar injustices.
Like our governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, one of my moms is not from this country. Yet unlike him, she does not have the right to immigrate because my parents are a same-sex couple. My family could be torn apart at any time, and without marriage, I will eventually lose one of my parents. Neither domestic partnership, nor civil unions provide families with the over thousand federal rights and responsibilities of marriage. While Gov. Schwarzenegger is living the "American dream," my family's "American dream" is one of basic civil rights. A great man once said,
"The fight for equality must be fought on many fronts -- in the urban slums, in the sweat shops of the factories and fields. Our separate struggles are really one -- a struggle for freedom, for dignity, and for humanity."
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. believed that every person deserved equal rights and he gave his life fighting for that cause. We must not forget the lessons that his fight has taught us, because it is that same battle we fight today.
With this in mind, I aspire to follow in the footsteps of other great LGBT leaders such as Harvey Milk, and my godfather Assemblymember Mark Leno, by being a leader who fights for what's right, and by one day soon becoming a political leader who will help pave the way towards equality for ALL!
About Marina: An accomplished and passionate activist since the age of 8 years old, Marina Gatto is a constant fixture in the media, as a spokesperson and leader for the LGBT community. As a child of two lesbian moms, Ramona & Arzu Gatto, Marina educates people nationwide about LGBT families and their children, and about the pride that she has in her family and in her community. Marina is an inspiration for youth of the LGBT community, for youth nationwide, and is a voice for LGBT families, and is a leader of the LGBT community. She is helping change the landscape of society, educating nationally on the importance of equality for all people, all families, and all children through her tireless activism.
The exhibit has toured extensively and is now part of an ongoing exhibit called THE LOVING QUILT 2010: A People's Living History - and Herstory - of Marriage Equality & Family Justice Movements
A Project of Marriage Equality USA in collaboration with NUMEROUS creative individuals & community, state and national organizations.
Maya Scott-Chung, MPH is the Creative Director and Curator of THE LOVING QUILT 2010 which was created during 2006-2010 as part of Maya's Masters in Public Health/ Community Health Education Thesis at San Francisco State University.
For exhibit booking and further information contact Maya: email@example.com (510) 381-0876
THE LOVING QUILT Webpage: www.marriageequality.org/quilt