For Immediate Release
February 8, 2012

San Francisco, CA – The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) welcomed yesterday’s decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, ruling that California’s Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. Proposition 8 is California’s voter-backed constitutional amendment that banned gay marriage in the state.

“Yesterday’s decision is an important step in the right direction to affirming that all persons – regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity – have the same rights under the United States Constitution,” said Kathy Lim Ko, APIAHF president and CEO. “We applaud the Ninth Circuit for recognizing that no family in California should be subject to discriminatory treatment.”

In a 2-1 decision, Judge Stephen Reinhardt affirmed the lower court’s ruling that Proposition 8 violated both the equal protection and due process clauses of the Constitution and had no legitimate basis under the law. “Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationship and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples,” said Judge Reinhardt in the majority opinion.

An estimated 66,000 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders identify as gay or lesbian in California, according to the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law.

Yesterday’s ruling was narrowly written, applying only to California’s Proposition 8, a ballot initiative that amended the state constitution and removed the same-sex marriage rights. The decision did not address the larger question of whether same-sex individuals have a constitutional right to marry. Proposition 8 proponents have the option of requesting a rehearing before the full appeals court, or can appeal directly to the United States Supreme Court.

The 9th Circuit Court’s full opinion can be found here

The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum influences policy, mobilizes communities, and strengthens programs and organizations to improve the health of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders.