WASHINGTON — The Japanese American Citizens League issued the following statement on Dec. 8.
The JACL joins the majority of Americans in applauding the passage of H.R. 8404, the Respect for Marriage Act. With strong bipartisan support, the Respect for Marriage Act (RMA) not only repeals the antiquated and homophobic Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) of 1996 but offers important federal protections and recognition to same-sex and interracial couples.
The RMA acknowledges and upholds the validity of a marriage based on the state in which it was performed, and bars the wrongful denial of federal benefits to marriages conducted in another state. While the passage of the RMA requires states to recognize gay and interracial marriage, states still have the power to bar gay and interracial marriage from happening in their jurisdictions. Given this, there is still much work to be done.
We also join our fellow civil rights advocates in calling for the passage of the Equality Act, which would provide full protections and freedoms to the 20 million+ self-identifying LGBTQIA+ individuals who call the United States home. This landmark bill would grant the same rights and freedoms to these individuals that millions of other Americans already enjoy.
This bill specifically prohibits discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in spaces including but not limited to housing, education, employment, etc. The bill “defines and includes sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity among the prohibited categories of discrimination or segregation.”
With 2022 coming to a close, and 2023 fast approaching, it is critical that the JACL provides resounding support to our partner LGBTQIA+ organizations in the fight for basic human rights.
JACL Executive Director David Inoue noted, “JACL has a long history of support for marriage equality as an amicus participant in the Loving vs. Virginia case through which the courts struck down anti-miscegenation laws and as one of the first national organizations to voice its support for gay marriage, a right also since affirmed by the court.
“However, we recognize the tenuous state of these rights dependent upon court protection from still-existing laws that with a change in court position could return to force. The RMA is a major step towards ensuring the right to marry whomever one wants is a protected American right, respected by all states.”