API Equality-LA applauded Tuesday’s Ninth Circuit Court decision that Proposition 8 violates the basic constitutional rights of gay and lesbian couples.

As Marshall Wong, co-chair of API Equality-LA’s steering committee, stated, “Proposition 8 harms loving gay and lesbian couples and their families, while helping no one. Today’s decision affirms the mainstream Asian American community’s support for marriage equality. In fact, many Asian American elected officials are strong supporters of marriage equality, including Congresswoman Judy Chu, Assemblymember Mike Eng, State Sen. Ted Lieu, State Sen. Carol Liu, (Hacienda-La Puente) School Board member Jay Chen, and many others.”

API Equality-LA’s Noel Alumit (center) joined a downtown press conference celebrating the court decision on Prop 8. The evening included speeches by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (right), actor Rob Reiner and Oscar winning writer Dustin Lance Black. (Photo by Latino Equality Alliance)

Stella Wang, a Chinese American mother, said, “As a mother of a lesbian daughter and someone who has been married for many years, I am excited that my daughter will finally enjoy the dignity of marrying someone that she loves. Gay and lesbian people are part of our community; we need to embrace and support them.”

Members of the Asian and Pacific Islander faith community also supported the decision. Rev. Dr. Jonipher Kwong explained, “Marriage is about love and commitment. Where love abides, God abides as well. You fall in love with the person and not the gender. We need to treat everyone the same in the eyes of God. I strongly believe that gays and lesbians deserve the same dignity of marrying the one they love.”

API Equality-LA Executive Director Eileen Ma commented, “Although we are encouraged by the court’s decision, we remain committed to the mission of achieving full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. We encourage everyone to visit our website at www.apiequalityla.org and urge that all fair-minded people join us in our efforts to make sure all people can have the dignity of marrying the person that they love.”

Community leaders such as Karin Wang, a member of API Equality-LA’s steering committee and vice president of programs and communications at the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, added, “As a community that has historically faced abrogation of our civil rights, like anti-miscegenation laws and wartime internment, we believe it is important that all people are treated fairly and have the same protections for their families.”

The decision will affect many members of the API community. According to the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, there are 66,000 Asian and Pacific Islander people who identify as gay or lesbian in California. The court’s decision upholds the principle of equal protection in the Constitution and affirms that the LGBT community must be protected from discrimination like other protected communities.

API Equality-LA is a coalition of organizations and individuals that are committed to working in the API communities in Greater Los Angeles for equal marriage rights and fair treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) families through community education and advocacy.

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