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This Week

Hi Folks,

This is the week.

In preparation for Thursday’s arguments before the CA Supreme Court, the California Legislature today passed resolutions opposing the passage of Proposition 8, sending a clear message to the Courts that denying fundamental rights to minorities is just plain wrong.

API Equality is working closely with LGBT leaders to ensure that the voices of all LGBT people are heard as we move forward in this process. This week, we also want to make sure that the face of the LGBT community is one that represents us and to that end will be organizing an API contingent at Wednesday’s candlelight vigils and working to ensure that our stories are heard in both ethnic and “mainstream” press.

Please come out and join us this week!

UPCOMING EVENTS & ACTIONS

3/4/09 – SF Candlelight Vigil for Marriage Equality
Join us at a candlelight vigil on the night before the Supreme Court Hearing. All members are welcome to attend! API Equality’s contingent will be meeting in front of Orphan Andy’s on the corner of 17th and Castro. Look for the API Equality Banner.

From Market and Castro for a 5-6pm for pre-march rally, we’ll march down to the CA Supreme Court (Civic Center) at 6:30pm for short program

You can find out similar events being held across the state at Marriage Equality USA’s website, http://www.marriageequality.org

3/5/09 – Supreme Court Hearing on Validity of Proposition 8
Just like last year, you can watch it on TV/Online Webcast via the California Channel, view it via satellite broadcasts in the following locations (note: seating is limited and will be offered on a “first come, first served” basis):

  • The Milton Marks Conference Center, Lower Level, Hiram Johnson State Office Building, 455 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco, and
  • Hastings College of the Law’s Auditorium, 198 McAllister Street, San Francisco, CA.
  • SF LGBT Center, 1800 Market Street, SF, CA

In Solidarity,
Tawal Panyacosit Jr., Director
API Equality | www.apiequality.org

Where are we now?

Dear Members,

Thank you again to everyone who came out and joined our marching contingent in this year’s San Francisco’s Chinese New Year’s Parade! We had the largest contingent ever in the 5 years that we have participated in the Parade.

As many of you know, next week on March 5th, the California Supreme Court will be hearing arguments regarding the validity of Proposition 8 in San Francisco. With all the hustle and bustle, we wanted to take a moment and update you on some of the work we’ve been doing as well as inform you of several important changes and upcoming events.

Over the past few months, API Equality staff has been meeting with local and state coalition partners and members to develop a plan of action for the coming year. Since the election, we had a resurgence of activity and interest and have been working to form a new local steering committee, of both continuing and new coalition members and individuals, who will help lead and advise the work of API Equality over the next months and years. With the formation of our local steering committee, we hope to connect our work more deeply to the communities we represent and to expand our reach and impact across the Bay Area and beyond.

Additionally, we have been collaborating with state and national LGBT leaders to review lessons learned from the No on 8 Campaign and to start identifying overall next steps. Over the next few weeks, we will be co-sponsoring a series of events focused on moving the community forward from Prop 8 and preparing for the oral arguments.

Finally, on a sad note, due to the recent funding challenges, complicated by the economic climate, API Equality will be saying good-bye to our community organizer, Amos Lim, at the end of March. Amos has been a strong addition to the API Equality team and we are extremely sad to lose him. While we continue to face similar challenges, API Equality, as a whole, remains robust and will continue to endeavor as we secure full equality under the law.

In Solidarity,
Tawal Panyacosit Jr., Director
API Equality | www.apiequality.org

Chinese New Year Parade – Thank Yous!

Hi Everybody,

I just want to take this opportunity to all of you bringing your members to march at the parade. An estimated count has us with about 75 marchers. I hope you all enjoyed yourselves that evening and I thank you all for praying for nice weather!

We did so much with so little time! I was busy getting things ready and did not have any time to speak with all of you, so I just want to use this opportunity to express my appreciation!

Thanks goes to Arthur and Tee for helping me fix the convertible into a wedding sedan.

Thanks also goes to Jen-Mei and Choon for gathering the marchers and getting Trinity and Desiree to throw the bouquet.

Thanks to Trinity and Desiree for putting on the Hawaiian Wedding Dresses beautifully and loving tailored by Trinity’s mom for the 4th time for the parade.

Thanks for Jen-Mei for providing the sound system and to Deborah for the red wagon.

Thanks goes to API Family Pride for the ponchos and the cowbells.

Thanks goes to Michelle, Jen-Mei, Tee, Choon for inflating the balloons and bringing them to the meeting area.

Thanks to Stuart and John for providing the double happiness sign.

Thanks to Elizabeth for getting the red costumes for NRJ’ers and securing Rev Oda for the parade.

Thanks to Kevin for putting on a suit and driving the convertible.

Thanks to all the organizations who turned out their members in force!

Finally, thanks to all the committee members from participating organizations who came together 6 weeks ago to start planning this. Without all of you contributing, we would not have a contingent marching at all.

You can view some of the pictures here:

Lastly though, I apologized for the change in meeting area. We were supposed to be on market street but the parade monitor directed us to second street. I found out later after the march that we were not supposed to be on second street and the monitor gave us the wrong information.

It has been a real pleasure working with all of you!

Yours sincerely,
Amos Lim, 林明利, Community Organizer

BREAKING NEWS! California Supreme Court to Hear Oral Arguments in Prop 8 Legal Challenge on March 5

The California Supreme Court announced today that it will hear oral arguments on Thursday, March 5, 2009 in the Proposition 8 legal challenge.

On November 19, 2008, the California Supreme Court agreed to hear the legal challenges to Proposition 8 and set an expedited schedule. Briefing in the case was completed on January 21, 2009.

The California Supreme Court must issue its decisions within 90 days of oral argument.

On January 15, 2009, 43 friend-of-the-court briefs urging the Court to invalidate Prop 8 were filed, arguing that Proposition 8 drastically alters the equal protection guarantee in California’s Constitution and that the rights of a minority cannot be eliminated by a simple majority vote. The supporters represent the full gamut of California’s and the nation’s civil rights organizations and legal scholars, as well as California legislators, local governments, bar associations, business interests, labor unions, and religious groups.

In May of 2008, the California Supreme Court held that laws that treat people differently based on their sexual orientation violate the equal protection clause of the California Constitution and that same-sex couples have the same fundamental right to marry as other Californians. Proposition 8 eliminated this fundamental right only for same-sex couples. No other initiative has ever successfully changed the California Constitution to take away a right only from a targeted minority group. Proposition 8 passed by a bare majority of 52 percent on November 4.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal, and the ACLU filed this challenge on November 5, representing Equality California, whose members include many same-sex couples who married between June 16 and November 4, 2008, and six same-sex couples who want to marry in California.

The California Supreme Court has also agreed to hear two other challenges filed on the same day: one filed by the City and County of San Francisco (joined by Santa Clara County and the City of Los Angeles, and subsequently by Los Angeles County and other local governments); and another filed by a private attorney.

Serving as co-counsel on the case with NCLR, Lambda Legal, and the ACLU are the Law Office of David C. Codell, Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP.

The case is Strauss et al. v. Horton et al. (#S168047).
Click here for more information.

API Equality Bids a Fond Farewell to 2007

As 2007 draws to a close, API Equality is proud to reflect on its accomplishments this year. Among other things, 2007 marks the year that API Equality joined with Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA), one of the nation’s oldest and most reputable API civil rights organization, and became a fully-funded, fully-staffed project. Prior to its merger, API Equality was an all-volunteer run organization.

Some of its proudest accomplishments this year include encouraging hundreds of API community members to take action in support of marriage equality legislation, generating sustained media coverage of marriage equality in the API and English language press, and organizing the first-ever coalition of API faith leaders to speak out in support of LGBT families.

For a recap of API Equality’s accomplishments in 2007, click here.