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OCA Applauds the Supreme Court’s Decisions on Marriage Equality, the ACA, and the FHA

Friday, June 26, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Nick Lee
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OCA Applauds the Supreme Court’s Decisions on Marriage Equality, the Affordable Care Act, and the Fair Housing Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

26 June 2015

CONTACT:  Michael W. Kwan | National President

202 223 5500 | mkwan@ocanational.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. – OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates commends the Supreme Court for advancing marriage equality, preserving nationwide health care subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, and reinforcing the protections of the disparate impact provision in the Fair Housing Act.

This past week, the Supreme Court handed down several major decisions, including a decision today in Obergefell v. Hodges to legalize marriage for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) marriage across the United States.

“Attaining marriage equality has been one of the greatest civil rights struggles of our time,” said Ken Lee, OCA Chief Executive Officer. “LGBT couples deserve the right to be married, to be loved, and to be happy the same as any other American, and we applaud the Supreme Court for boldly deciding in favor of equality and against bigotry. It has taken the blood, sweat, and tears of thousands of advocates over decades of struggle for this moment, and OCA is proud to have been a part of it. The LGBT movement deserves every ounce of celebration of this victory in the midst of Pride Month.”

“So much progress towards equality has happened in such a short time, and yet the fight is not over,” continued Lee. “Though we have seen a sea change in public opinion about same-sex marriage, we have yet to see a society that fully accepts LGBT individuals. There has been resistance to implementation of same-sex marriage legalization in many states and we must closely monitor local precincts to make sure they are in compliance. There are still state laws that allow businesses and employers to discriminate against individuals simply for their sexual orientation. Most importantly, there are still LGBT children being shamed for who they are. Until we reach a point in our society when we are fully accepting of all persons, no matter their color, creed, sexual orientation, or gender-identity we must keep striving for a more equal and just society.”

“This ruling represents the most recent development in a long fought battle for marriage equality,” concluded Lee. “It was not so long ago that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders could not marry who they loved in certain states, until the Supreme Court ruled in Loving v. Virginia in 1967 that anti-miscegenation laws were unconstitutional.”

“This decision should mark the end of the Gay Marriage debate. Henceforth, in this nation, we have only marriage:  an enduring commitment made by two consenting adults,” said Michael W. Kwan, OCA National President. “As Justice Anthony Kennedy so eloquently stated, ‘No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family.’  Now we can celebrate the fact that our LGBT friends and family members will not be denied the opportunity to share this highest ideal.”

The Supreme Court issued a second major decision in King v. Burwell that state health care subsidies for low- and middle- income consumers under the Affordable Care Act were intended to be nationwide and not only in states with their own health care marketplaces.

“This is the second major decision that has affirmed the Affordable Care Act as the law of the land and simply put, it is time for this bill’s opponents to lay the issue to rest,” said Vicki Shu, OCA Vice President of Public Affairs. “This legislation has already gone to great lengths to enhance access and affordability to quality health care for the most vulnerable in our community. It is estimated that 2 million otherwise uninsured Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders will have health insurance by 2016 as a result of the Affordable Care Act. Instead of wasting time by resisting this essential program, it is now time for states to find out how to best implement this program to reach the underserved in their communities. Among some Asian American and Pacific Islander groups, nearly one in four people are still uninsured and this is unacceptably high.”

The Court also decided in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project that “disparate impact” or a discriminatory effect was sufficient to file a claim under the Fair Housing Act.

“The Supreme Court’s decision on ‘disparate impact’ is important because it reinforces what the civil rights community has been advocating for,” said Lee. “In many instances, policies may not seem discriminatory, but the outcomes they have disproportionately affects poor communities of color. Though it is often cited that Asian Americans have more income than whites in the aggregate, the truth is that 12.6% of Asian Americans live below the poverty line and are in need of quality, affordable housing. This precedent goes far beyond just the Fair Housing Act, and will help Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders litigate for equal access to resources and social services more effectively.”

OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates is a national organization of community advocates dedicated to improving the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs).

 

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1322 18th St. NW
Washington, DC 20036
 
P: (202) 223-5500 | F: (202) 296-0540 | E: oca@ocanational.org