Asian Pacific American Leaders Condemn Federal Marriage Amendment

July 13, 2004

Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications

Task Force's Alain Dang to Serve as Coalition Manager

Below is a press release from our friends at Asian Pacific American Coalition for Equality(APACE):

Asian Pacific American Leaders Condemn Federal Marriage Amendment

Contact: Andy Wong
Phone: (415) 341-6415 Email:

San Francisco, California - The Asian Pacific American Coalition for Equality (APACE) today announced its launch as a national ad hoc coalition of Asian Pacific American (APA) leaders and organizations determined to fight marriage discrimination against their communities. It represents a broad alliance of APA lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) affinity groups, as well as major APA and LGBT civil rights organizations across the country.

"Through anti-miscegenation laws, exclusion acts, and immigration restrictions, APA families have faced a long, heartbreaking legacy of marriage discrimination in the United States," said Clay Kwong for the People of Color Media Program of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). "That shameful legacy continues to impact thousands of APA same-sex couples who are currently denied access to protections that marriage would afford them and their children."

APACE encourages APA communities to support marriage equality and oppose the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA), which if passed, would write discrimination directly into the Constitution. Throughout U.S. history, amendments to the Constitution have been adopted to expand or protect the rights of Americans. The FMA would instead limit civil rights.

"For same-sex couples in our communities, the basic privilege of hospital visitation rights and health care benefits would be forever unattainable. The goal of one day being able to sponsor non-citizen partners for immigration and naturalization would be forever unreachable," explained Diana Ming Yin of Scripps College. "Ultimately, this amendment is anti-Asian American."

In recent months, religious conservatives in APA communities have organized rallies in opposition to marriage equality in California. "They are not representative of our communities," said Andy Wong of Marriage Equality California (MECA). "Indeed, fair-minded leaders of our APA communities support equal marriage rights for same-sex couples, and have played a pivotal role in spearheading the movement for marriage equality."

These leaders include: Japanese Americans Al and Jane Nakatani, who helped organize the 1998 campaign against a proposed anti-marriage amendment to the Hawaii state constitution; Chinese American Mabel Teng, who made history by marrying the first same-sex couple in San Francisco earlier this year; and, South Asian Americans Mala Nagarajan and Vega Subramaniam, who are chief plaintiffs in a lawsuit seeking to overturn Washington state's 1998 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

"As South Asian American lesbians, we recognize the importance of marriage equality for the Asian American community," said Nagarajan and Subramaniam of Trikone Northwest. "Marriage is not just about individuals, but also about parents, families, and community. When our marriage is legally recognized and no longer stigmatized by our government, we fulfill that family and community responsibility."

Below is a list of organizations that endorse APACE and support marriage equality in APA communities.

Asian and Friends - Washington Asian Lesbian Bisexual Alliance of Seattle (ALBA)
Asian Pacific AIDS Intervention Team (APAIT)
Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC)
Asian Pacific Islander (API) Family Pride
Asian & Pacific Islander Lesbian, Bisexual Women's and Transgender Network (APLBTN)
Asian Pacific Islander PFLAG - Los Angeles
Asian/Pacific Islander Queers United for Action (AQUA)
Asian Pacific Islander Queer Sisters (APIQS)
Asian Pacific Islander Queer Women & Transgender Coalition (APIQWTC)
Asian Pacific Islander Pride Council
Barangay - Los Angeles Filipino LGBT Group
California Freedom to Marry Coalition
Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere (COLAGE)
Chinese Rainbow Association (CRA)
Community United Against Violence
Equality California
Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)
Gay Asian Pacific Islander Men of New York (GAPIMNY)
Gay Asian Pacific Support Network (GAPSN)
Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN)
Honor Thy Children
Immigration Equality
Khush DC
L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center
Lambda Legal
Love Sees No Borders
Many Of The Homosexuals R Asian (MOTHRA) at the University of Michigan
Marriage Equality California
National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF)
National Asian Pacific Legal Consortium (NAPALC)
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC)
Our Family Coalition
PFLAG - Northern California Chinese chapter
Satrang - Los Angeles South Asian Group
Trikone - Northwest

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Mission Statement: The Asian Pacific American Coalition for Equality (APACE) recognizes the historical legacy of marriage discrimination in the United States and its profound impact on Asian Pacific American families. Through community education and coalition building, we seek to empower our APA communities to challenge this legacy and to confront present-day marriage discrimination against same-sex couples. In doing so, we want to affirm lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender members in our communities and acknowledge the enriching presence of their love and lives. (


The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.