Why Marriage Matters to Asians and Pacific Islanders
OVERVIEW: The Asian Pacific Islander community is one of the fastest growing demographic groups in the country. The Census Bureau calculated in 2005 that therewere 14 million APIs living in the United States, a population that was projected to triple over the next 50 years. In a groundbreaking study of LGBT APIs conducted by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 33 percent of LGBT APIs reported being in a committed relationship, while another 10% reported being in a same-sex domesticpartnership.
Today, Asians and Pacific Islanders continue to play a leading role in the efforts to secure the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. Many in the Asian and Pacific Islander community serve as plaintiffs, lawyers, organizers, and allies in local, state, and national efforts to win marriage for committed same-sex couples. These leaders also conduct outreach, in multiple languages, to promote LGBT acceptance within API communities. And they continue to build support for the freedom to marry by talking about how marriage upholds tradition and promotes strong families and communities.
PROMINENT VOICES: Many leaders in the API community have voiced strong support for the freedom to marry.
API Equality is one of the leading organizations advocaging for fairness and equality in the API and LGBT communities. The group has honed in on the freedom to marry as an important progressive issue, working at the grassroots level to reach a wide variety of Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders to help them understand why marriage matters.
During the Proposition 8 struggle, Asian-American leaders and organizations in California joined together in order to oppose the anti-gay law. From actor George Takei to journalist Helen Zia to actor-turned-politician John Cho, many Asian-American celebrities spoke out. In addition, figures like John Chiag, the CA State Controller; Judy Chu, the CA Board of Equalization Chair; and a number of CA State Assembly members lent their support to the freedom to marry.
Blog Posts Related to Asians and Pacific Islanders
This week, a diverse array of voices have spoken out about the importance of the freedom to marry in Hawaii. An economic impact study and the Japanese American Citizens League agreed this week that ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage would positively impact Hawaii, fueling advocates for a big week.
This week, Washington United for Marriage, the broad coalition of organizations and advocates working to uphold the freedom to marry in Washington, announced that nearly 200 organizations and leaders representing communities of color in the state are voicing their fervent support for marriage for same-sex couples.
Marriage equality may not be the top priority for many New Yorkers, but even queer immigrant activists agree that its passage would expand civil rights in the state and codify the fundamental dignity of LGBT individuals and their families.
Resources Related to Asians and Pacific Islanders
Democratizing the Courts: How an Amicus Brief Helped Organize the Asian American Community to Support Marriage Equality
Penn State law professor, Victor C. Romero, examines marriage equality and it’s impact on binational couples in the APA community.
A report on the experiences of intersectionality among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people of color.