Why Marriage Matters to Asians and Pacific Islanders
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 domestic partnership.
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.
"Central behind APA support for marriage equality are children, citizenship, and civil rights. Census studies have found higher rates of parenting and non-citizenship status, as well as lower household income, among APA same-sex couples than white same-sex couples and APA opposite-sex couples. APA same-sex couples would thus stand to benefit the most from marriage equality. It would confer protections that would keep their families more safe, healthy, and intact.
Moreover, APAs have faced a long history of discrimination in the United States: wartime internment, immigration restrictions, and laws banning interracial marriage. Many APAs understand that this legacy of exclusion and unequal citizenship remains painfully real today for same-sex couples. It explains why so many APAs are now raising their voices in defense of pluralism, mutual respect, and security for all loving families."