ASIAN AND PACIFIC ISLANDER COMMUNITY GROUPS EXPRESS DISMAY AT ANTI-LGBT DEMONSTRATIONS LED BY CHINESE GROUPS
SAN GABRIEL, Calif. (July 19, 2015) — Nearly a month following the historic U.S. Supreme Court decision on marriage equality, anti-LGBT demonstrations are being planned by primarily Chinese groups in the San Gabriel Valley and Los Angeles. In response, API Equality-LA, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-LA and Asian and Pacific Islander (API) elected officials, community, and religious leaders issue the following statements in support of upholding the law of the land and equal rights for all:
“As the first Chinese American Councilmember for Rosemead, I am proud that we have come a long way as a community, and the Supreme Court decision affirms that Americans believe in equality for all. The Chinese community that I know is no different; we stand for progress and equality. These rallies are a disappointing reminder that further dialogue and understanding is needed to protect all our rights. I stand with the API and LGBT communities to oppose discrimination and hate,” says Polly Low, Councilmember, City of Rosemead.
“I am proud that we have come a long way as a community. The recent Supreme Court decision affirms the American belief in equality for all. However, there continues to be differing opinions which remind us that further dialogue is needed. One effective way to reconcile these differences is through mutual dialogue and remembering that people’s views on both sides are rooted in long-held beliefs,” says Assemblymember Ed Chau, CA-49th Assembly District.
“As an elected school board member and Asian gay man, it is sad to see those who would divide our community with messages of bigotry and prejudice. We are one community and to think that it is okay to take away the rights of one group of people based on who they love is wrong,” says Henry Lo, Board of Education member, Garvey School District.
“Instead of putting together rallies that promote misinformation, fear, and discord, which tears our families apart, people of faith and goodwill ought to be focusing on the Greatest Commandment, which is to love one another. Period. LGBT people are a gift from God and the more shame we inflict upon our LGBT family members, the more they will be driven to isolation and destructive behaviors. Homophobia is the real sin and it’s time for us as people of faith to call for an end to harmful rhetoric that destroys our community and spread the gospel of love,” says Rev. Dr. Jonipher Kūpono Kwong, Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA).
“I totally understand why some API Christian clergy and leaders are mobilizing to protest the legalization of same-sex marriages. But as I’ve made it a point to befriend API LGBTQ folks—many of whom are professing Christians—I’ve come to appreciate their struggles just to be accepted in society, let alone in our churches. I’ve come to empathize with their basic hope and desire to make a life-long commitment if they should find the right person. Today, many Americans who are LGBTQ have the legal right to get married, regardless of whether I or any other pastors choose to perform their ceremonies. As an American, I am happy that they now have the same right and protection under the law that I enjoy. And as a Christian, I am humbled as I keep learning what it means to love my LGBTQ neighbors in the same way that I want to be loved,” says Rev. Dr. Ken Uyeda Fong, Senior Pastor at
Evergreen Baptist Church of Los Angeles in Rosemead.
“Marriage between two people is a right for all U.S. residents. We cannot deprive anyone from this right, in order to conform to the teachings of any particular religion. If your child, relative, or friend is lesbian or gay, chances are that she or he will experience some type of discrimination in his or her lifetime. Doesn’t everyone deserve to be treated fairly and equally? Will you support them to fight for equal rights and fair treatment? As the parent of a lesbian daughter, I know firsthand that sexual orientation is not a choice. I support marriage equality and hope that Chinese community organizations will support LGBTQ individuals in their fights for equal rights,” says Anna Chu, Asian mother and member of the San Gabriel Valley chapter of Parent and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).
“These rallies are being organized based on fear and misinformation LGBT people are valued members of our families, churches and communities. We need to work together in order to stop the prejudice and fear that fuels discrimination and causes hardships for LGBT people, especially young people who continue to feel unsafe and unheard,” said Eileen Ma, Executive Director of API Equality-LA.
“As a civil rights organization, we celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. As Asian Americans, we know too well how marriage discrimination was used against our own community in the past. These protesters do not represent the majority of Chinese or Asian Americans, as our community recognizes the history we share with the LGBT community,” says Karin Wang, Vice President of Programs and Communications at Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles.
According to the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, there are 66,000 Asian and Pacific Islander (API) adults who identify as gay or lesbian in California. Nationwide, an estimated 325,000 API adults identify as LGBT. The Supreme Court decision will likely have a profound impact on nearly 33,000 API LGBT individuals who are in a same-sex relationship, of which more than a quarter are raising children.
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Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles (Advancing Justice-LA) is the nation’s largest Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) legal and civil rights organization and serves more than 15,000 individuals and organizations every year. Founded in 1983 as the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, Advancing Justice – LA’s mission is to advocate for civil rights, provide legal services and education, and build coalitions to positively influence and impact Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and to create a more equitable and harmonious society. Through direct legal services, impact litigation, policy analysis and advocacy, leadership development and capacity building, Advancing Justice – LA seeks to serve the most vulnerable members of the AANHPI community while also building a strong AANHPI voice for civil rights and social justice.
Since 2005, API Equality-LA has been advocating for the fair treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and marriage equality for same-sex couples in Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. Its vision is to create a society that celebrates the love and lives of all people–free from discrimination and injustice. Every year, dedicated volunteers have one-on-one conversations with thousands of Asian voters, participate in parades,rallies and community festivals, reach out to ethnic media, build bridges to faith communities, and organize educational events on a broad array of social justice issues of importance to API LGBTQ people.