Verastegui is tall, dark, and handsome, not to
mention rich and famous. This Latino actor and sex
symbol was a favorite of gay Mexicans and
Mexican-Americans -- until he came out as one of the
loudest proponents of California's Proposition 8.
battle raging between gay leaders and conservative
Christians over the ballot initiative that could take
marriage rights away from same-sex couples has spread
beyond California's borders: The Utah-based Mormon
Church has contributed the bulk of the money to
promote Proposition 8, and many donors to the fight
against the initiative live thousands of miles from
the Golden State.
Now the fight has
reached Mexico, where one of that country's biggest
young stars is being recruited to convince California's
Latinos to vote for Proposition 8. The voice and
face of Verastegui -- a Mexican actor and
model who was named by People en Espanol
as one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world -- can
currently be found on airwaves and television screens
calling for a yes vote on Proposition 8.
actor garnered attention from roles in the
English-language film Chasing Papi, the
canceled Shannen Doherty series Charmed, and a
Jennifer Lopez video. He's a devout Catholic who has urged
Latinos to vote not only against same-sex marriage but
also abortion rights and Barack Obama. Not
surprisingly, gay fans and gay supporters have turned
on Verastegui -- Mexican pop star Paulina Rubio is
rumored to have called him ignorant. Latina.com said of Verastegui,
"[he] used to make us weak in the knees, but lately
he' s just making us sick to our stomachs."
Latinos are Catholic, it's not clear whether this voting
bloc is being influenced by people like
Verastegui. According to the
Sacramento Bee, a Field Poll revealed 37%
favored the same-sex marriage ban and 44% opposed it.
No on Prop. 8,
the group fighting to defeat the ballot initiative, is not
taking any chances. They just released a commercial to
Spanish-speaking markets on Monday featuring
three Latinos who appear on Ugly Betty -- star
America Ferrera, along with Tony Plana and Ana
Ortiz -- telling voters that Proposition 8 would hurt
families, not help them.
Javier Angulo, No
on Prop. 8's deputy political director, said the
campaign is also taking advantage of Los Angeles's popular
mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa.
The Democrat has
donated $25,000 to fight Prop. 8 and will appear on
robo-calls reaching out to Latino voters. Angulo's colleague
at No on Prop. 8, Monica Trasandes, says, "We've
gotten our message out there." She pointed to
appearances by No on Prop. 8 officials on CNN
Espanol, Telemundo, and the popular L.A.
Spanish-language radio show Piolin por la Manana.
But Yes on 8 is
fighting hard as well.
neighborhoods have been blanketed by Spanish-language fliers
that call for the protection of California's children.
Angulo says that No on 8 signs and posters are being
distributed, but an effort to cover northeastern
neighborhoods that are home to high concentrations of
Latinos was fruitless because the signs were routinely
"We're not going
to spend additional funds on that," Angulo says.
"We're making the best use of our time. We're communicating
with voters one-on-one." (Neal Broverman, The