LGBT Asians/ South Asians file innovative amicus briefs: Urge Courts to Deny Anti-LGBT Discrimination in Masterpiece Cakeshop case And Block Anti-Immigrant/ Anti-Sanctuary City Law in Texas
Amicus briefs filed in US Supreme Court and US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
December 1, 2017 - The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) filed two amicus ("friend of the court") briefs in federal courts defending the rights of LGBT people, Asian Americans, and immigrants. Those cases involve a claim of religious exemption to allow anti-LGBT discrimination in Colorado and a harsh anti-immigrant, anti-sanctuary city law in Texas SB4.
· Fighting A Religious Exemption for Anti-LGBT Discrimination in the US Supreme Court
Washington, DC scheduled to be heard on Tuesday December 5, 2017. NQAPIA joined the National LGBTQ Task Force to file an amicus brief in the US Supreme Court in Masterpiece Cake shop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, to deny discrimination against LGBT people based on one's religious beliefs. The brief was developed with the pro bono assistance of Morrison & Foerster LLP. Brief is here:
The case involves a Colorado man who refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple because of his religious beliefs. "Religion should never be an acceptable reason to refuse services to anyone, as courts have long held." said Glenn D. Magpantay, NQAPIA Executive Director.
The innovative brief illustrates the intersection of race-based discrimination and anti-LGBTQ discrimination. For decades, the Supreme Court has held that a business owner's prejudicial views on race, even if based on religion, do not allow race-based discrimination. If the Court allows an exception to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity, it would exacerbate the multiple layers of discrimination that LGBTQ people of color already face in public accommodations, housing, and employment. Indeed, it could open the door to legally permissible discrimination based on the intersections of race, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
Other co-signers to the amicus brief include GLAAD, Basic Rights Oregon, Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity, National Coalition for LGBT Health, SisterSong: National Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, and Witness to Mass Incarceration.
· Challenging Texas SB 4 in the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
San Antonio, TX … NQAPIA and LGBT Asian groups and allies in Texas filed an amicus brief in federal court to block the implementation of Texas's anti-immigrant/ anti-sanctuary city law (SB4). The brief was developed with the pro bono assistance of Reed Smith LLP. Brief is here: http://www.nqapia.org/wpp/nqapia-brief/
SB4 is the most aggressive anti-immigrant law enacted since Trump took office. The law bans sanctuary cities and will promote racial profiling of immigrants. KhushATX a South Asian LGBT group in Austin; OCA Greater Houston Chapter, a non-LGBT ally Asian American group; The Collective of Houston Asian Americans; and Dragonflies of Dallas –joined NQAPIA on the brief that was filed in City of El Cenizo v. Texas. More information about Texas SB 4 is available here: http://www.nqapia.org/wpp/fact-sheet-sb4/
"Texas SB 4 will subject Asian Americans, LGBT people, and Latinos to illegal profiling about their immigration status by local law enforcement." said Glenn D. Magpantay, NQAPIA Executive Director.
The brief argues that Texas SB 4 would subject LGBT people who are ethnic and racial minorities to discriminatory stops and unlimited questioning by police. Asian Americans are the fastest growing immigrant group in Texas. The Asian population is growing at twice the rate of the Hispanic population. Large metro areas like Dallas and Houston are experiencing particularly rapid growth of Asian Americans, and each has a significant number of undocumented Asian American immigrants.
A disproportionate number of the LGBT undocumented immigrant community is Asian American. The impact of SB4 is further compounded for those immigrants who are both Asian American and LGBT. The law will subject LGBT immigrants to increased harassment and detention. Studies show that federal immigration authorities already use their discretion to target and detain the LGBT population more routinely than other populations. Moreover, many LGBT immigrants come from countries that criminalize homosexuality. SB4 increases the likelihood that they could be forced to return to countries and face persecution.
NQAPIA and OCA-Greater Houston published an op-ed further illustrating the impact of SB4 on Asian Americans in Texas at https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/texas-sb4s-impact-on-asian-americans-why-we-should_us_59a7127be4b00ed1aec9a532
The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) is a nationwide federation of LGBT Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (API) organizations. We seek to build the organizational capacity of local LGBT API groups, develop leadership, and expand collaborations to better challenges anti-LGBT bias and racism.