Ricky Martin, whose real name is Enrique Martín Morales, was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and grew up in and around that community.
Martin was raised a devout Catholic. He was even an altar boy when he was young. However, as I'm sure we can all imagine, he's run into a few issues with his church because, well, he's gay and Catholics haven't traditionally liked the whole gay thing. At one point, the Archbishop of San Juan, Puerto Rico once asked Ricky if he could, as a role model, try to represent values that weren't necessarily gay sex-related.
But Ricky isn't buying the criticism. He is clearly still very faithful and feels that his faith and his sexuality are not mutually exclusive. He said:
I am a very spiritual man and my god doesn't make mistakes. I have a really cool connection with that beautiful light up there that is constantly reassuring who I am and telling me, 'You are an awesome person.'
However, it might be reasonable to speculate that his being gay and the reaction to it from Catholics has opened the door for Martin to consider the ideas of other religions. He has said that he is open to other faiths and particularly likes the ideas in Buddhism. Still, it seems he's sticking–at least in principle–to the religion of his heritage.
Anti-war and pro-Hispanic politics
Perhaps Martin's first public political statement was singing at George W. Bush's 2001 inauguration. But it might have just been a high-profile gig for the singer, because it wasn't long before he was putting his middle finger in the air at concerts while he sang a song lyric about then-president Bush. When asked about what appeared to be an about-face, Martin said:
My convictions of peace and life go beyond any government and political agenda and as long as I have a voice onstage and offstage, I will always condemn war and those who promulgate it.
Not a fan, huh? Well, war in Iraq isn't the only Republican policy Martin doesn't like. When Arizona became the first state to pass extremely strict anti-immigration legislation (SB 1070), which was considered by many to be state-sponsored racism, Martin came out against it, saying:
[This law] makes no sense… Put a stop to discrimination. Put a stop to hate. Put a stop to racism.
So we know what he's against. But what does he support? Would gay marriage surprise you? Martin was so thrilled when President Obama came out in support of gay marriage, he hosted a fundraiser for the president's reelection campaign, saying:
I believe Barack Obama has shown a deep conviction to help those most in need, even if their voices are not always the ones heard the loudest in Washington. He has also been an exceptionally strong advocate for the Latino and LGBT communities, leading us to precedent setting milestones such as the appointment of the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice and the repeal of [Don't Ask, Don't Tell].
Martin represents two minority groups with political interests–Hispanics and homosexuals–so who could blame Martin for aligning himself with the party that at least pays lip-service to the causes espoused by these groups?