SC decision for marriage equality hailed by community leaders

Advancing Justice will lead rally today.

Advancing Justice will lead rally today.

TheFILAMLA Special Report

The U.S. Supreme Court (SC) decision June 26 legalizing same sex marriage for all states was hailed as a victory by the nation’s largest legal and civil rights organization for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. Many Filipino American leaders posted “likes” and tweeted favorably in social media.

Stewart Kwoh, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice- LA (AAAJ-LA) said “while the work for full equality is far from over, we applaud the Court for extending marriage equality to our lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) brothers and sisters.”

The AAAJ-LA head said “The Oberg fell decision follows the important path blazed 48 years ago by the Supreme Court in Loving v. Virginia, where it struck a death blow to discriminatory marriage laws that targeted not just African Americans but also Asian Americans”.

He said today’s decision will likely have a profound impact on nearly 33,000 AAPI Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, LGBT individuals who are in same-sex relationships, of which more than a quarter are raising children.

Advancing Justice LA will spearhead a “Decision Day Rally” at 6 p.m. at West Hollywood Park 647 N. San Vicente Blvd. in West Hollywood.

In an interview with TheFILAMLA, Rotary Officer John Mina said “Thank God for the five justices in our nation’s highest court for recognizing our rights and our right to marry whom we love.”

Community leader John Mina

Community leader John Mina

“It has taken our nation a long time to realize we all have rights and that every Americans’ rights matter, “said Mina who is editor to a local government publication.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles Times columnist and Pulitzer prize winner Filipino American Jose Antonio Vargas posted : “You know the culture of LGBT rights and equality has completely shifted when your straight friends as happy as you are about the supreme Court decision or same-sex marriage”.

Vargas, who produced the widely viewed “Documented” movie, said at least 20 friends have so far texted him with: ‘CONGRATS!!!! Who u gonna marry now?”

Pilipino Workers Center Associate Director Lolit Andrada Lledo told TheFILAMLA that she is jubilant with the SC decision. “ I am just waiting when the Philippines also recognizes same-sex marriage and treat gay people with respect and dignity and not laugh at them and bully them for being gays.”

An important report two years ago by the influential Williams Institute had stated there is an estimated 325,000 AAPI adults or 2.8% of all Asian and Pacific Islander (API) adults in the US identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

Published in 2003, the Williams report stated the top three countries of origin reported for API individuals in same-sex couples born outside the U.S. are the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.

“API individuals in same-sex couples are more likely to be a U.S. citizen than their counterparts in different-sex couples (81% versus 68%). One in five API same-sex couples are binational (include one citizen and one non-citizen), the report noted.

Kwoh, speaking on behalf of Asian Americans Advancing Justice affiliates in the country said, he hopes state officials move swiftly to implement this constitutional right and the Court’s command in the 13 states with existing marriage bans.

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