Many members of the Indian American and larger Asian American community have spoken with optimism in response to the June 26 ruling by the United States Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide.
“As Americans, we must always strive to live up to the promise of our ideals to form a more perfect union that demands for equality for all,” Ash Kalra, a San Jose city councilmember, said in a statement.
The decision culminates a years-long civil rights quest within the LGBTQ community, and many Americans, to bring equality to the nation, regardless of sexual preference.
“The Supreme Court’s decision (in Obergefell v. Hodges, to license marriage of same-sex couples in all states) has helped move us towards that ideal by ensuring that the commitment between two people is honored regardless of who they choose to love,” said Kalra. “This decision celebrates love and equality.”
Kalra also requested a rainbow flag be flown over city hall plaza for the day.
The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, a longstanding supporter of marriage equality, applauded the decision as well.
“Today’s landmark decision is an important step toward eliminating discrimination and achieving equality under the law for all Americans.” said association president George C. Chen.
Obergefell is the consolidation of four separate lawsuits from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee in which same-sex couples challenged their states’ refusal to recognize their marriages or permit them to marry in those states.
The Supreme Court’s ruling nullifies the bans against marriage equality in 14 states.
In India, homosexual conduct is a criminal act and many people have been jailed as part of the India Supreme Court’s 2013 reinstatement of penal code Section 377.
"Today marks a key moment in history, building on growing momentum from advocates striving for LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) equality," added National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum executive director Miriam Yeung.
Mathematician and author Manil Suri, who immigrated from India to the U.S. in 1979, now has the freedom to wed his partner of 25 years. He hopes this will enlighten other countries, like his homeland.
"I was just overjoyed. I mean, it's been such a long time coming," Suri said in a PRI report. "They are bound to really look at what the U.S. is doing. It's one of the largest countries in the world and it's really putting its seal on this, saying marriage equality is here to stay."
The Bay Area Municipal Elections Committee is scheduled to host a rally at the city hall plaza in San Jose at about 6 p.m. Kalra is scheduled to speak at the event.
“As we continue down our long journey towards equality for all in our nation, this is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate a major milestone and reflect upon how far we have come,” he said.
A decade ago, only Massachusetts recognized same-sex marriage
The Hindu American Foundation, along with a number of religious and secular groups, made an effort to change that.
“HAF’s work on this issue is consistent with our view that Hinduism provides no spiritual basis to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Swaminathan Venkataraman, a member of HAF’s executive council and the primary author of the foundation’s Hinduism and homosexuality policy paper.
The United States is the 21st country to legalize same-sex marriage.
NAPABA has stated it is committed to challenging other laws that deny equal rights for LGBT Americans.