Power and Politics - I am Not the Yellow Peril

The life and times of an Asian American activist who tells all the truth (and dishes news and analysis) but with a leftwards slant.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

APAs for equal marriage

This is pretty cool - a whole slew of APA groups (over 60) have filed an amicus brief so that everyone can have the freedom to marry. (Story found at the Bay Reporter.)

In recognition of Freedom to Marry Week, Marriage Equality USA (MEUSA) is featuring the Asian Pacific Americans' amicus brief filed by several Asian American Bar Associations throughout California and over 60 Asian Pacific American civil rights organizations; including the Japanese American Citizens League, National Korean American Service and Education Consortium, and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund.

. . . The brief begins by saying, "As Asian Pacific American organizations, Amici are familiar with the history of discrimination, especially California's history of exclusionary efforts targeted at Asian immigrants which made it difficult to marry, establish families, have children, build communities and integrate into the larger American society. We see important parallels between the contemporary exclusion of lesbians and gay men from marriage in California."
One of the main plaintants, Stuart Gaffney, actually is the product of an interracial marriage which wasn't recognized in states like Missouri, since laws related to the Chinese Exclusion Acts had yet to be banned there.

"At the core, this discrimination was motivated by stereotypes about each group and the putative threat each group posed to whites in California. For example, some argued that American institutions and culture would be overwhelmed by the habits of people thought to be sexually promiscuous, perverse, lascivious and immoral. These stereotypes led to the enactment of laws that not only impeded full integration into society, but promoted segregated communities and institutions." – APA amicus brief

When the parents of Stuart Gaffney, a marriage plaintiff and Marriage Equality USA Asian Pacific Islander (API) Outreach Director, met at the University of California at Berkeley and married in 1952, (just five years after the California Supreme Court had struck down California's own anti-miscegenation law) their marriage was still not valid in many states.

In fact, when they moved to Missouri and started looking for a home, they learned that their marriage was null and void under Missouri law. One generation later, Gaffney and his partner of more than 20 years, John Lewis, are challenging the current exclusionary law prohibiting them from marrying.

"We have shared our family's story to raise awareness of our state's history of exclusion and to encourage our society to continue to challenge unjust laws and embrace the American tradition of fairness and equality for all," said Gaffney.

"The exclusion of gay couples from marriage pushes them outside of the common framework and vocabulary of family and civic life; it forces them to be outsiders." – APA amicus brief

I'm proud of our community for supporting and coming to the forefront on this issue.

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  • At 11:50 AM, Blogger hsuper said…

    I agree, I'm also proud of this. And such a broad array of groups that signed on!


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