By National JACL Staff
JACL applauds the Supreme Court’s recognition of marriage equality today in the landmark case Obergefell v. Hodges. In 1994, the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) was one of the first national organizations to endorse same-sex marriage. During its debate over twenty years ago, JACL advocates on this issue spoke about the need to secure the rights of all Americans in a fair and equal manner.
Noted JACL member and then-Congressman Norman Mineta addressed the delegates at the JACL National Convention in Salt Lake City, saying, “Doing what is right is often controversial. Doing what is just is often unpopular. But if we are to remain a viable voice in the national civil rights movement we cannot back away from our commitments simply because this issue is difficult.”
Since that time, JACL has signed onto multiple amicus briefs as supportive of eliminating same-sex marriage bans, including Obergefell v. Hodges, the case that the Supreme Court decided today. In a 5-4 decision, the Court held that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage. The majority opinion stated in part, “No union is more profound than marriage…It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage…They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”
JACL applauds the Court’s recognition of marriage equality that now allows same-sex couples equal access to benefits that have long been denied to them including: healthcare decision-making rights, spousal social security, joint adoption of children, and veteran spousal benefits. As the nation’s oldest and largest Asian American civil rights organization, JACL continues to support full equality for LGBTQ individuals, including the fight against discrimination.