PRESS RELEASE: NAPABA SUPPORTS GOVERNOR BREWER’S VETO OF HATEFUL ANTI-LGBT BILL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                           February 27, 2014

Contact: Emily Chatterjee                                                   (202) 775-9555

NAPABA SUPPORTS GOVERNOR BREWER’S VETO OF HATEFUL ANTI-LGBT BILL

Remains Vigilant As Similar Bills Are Proposed In Other States

WASHINGTON — Last night, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed SB 1062, legislation that would have enabled businesses to disregard municipal ordinances under the banner of religious freedom, and allowed them to discriminate against individuals who identify as LGBT.

“Governor Brewer’s decision to veto SB 1062 is a victory for everyone who opposes discrimination and supports the civil rights of all Americans, including those of our LGBT brothers and sisters, but it is disheartening that hateful legislation like this ever reached her desk,” said William J. Simonitsch, president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). “Religious claims have been asserted in the past to justify slavery, segregation, and bans on interracial marriage. On Tuesday, we sent the Governor and other Arizona leaders a letter outlining our opposition to this latest religious justification for discrimination. We let them know that if the Governor allowed SB 1062 to become law, NAPABA would consider relocating its Annual Convention in November out of Phoenix/Scottsdale.”

Were it not for Governor Brewer’s veto Wednesday evening, Arizona would have been the first state to enact legislation enabling corporations and individuals to deny services simply by asserting that they were acting because of a “sincerely held religious belief.” Supporters of the bill did not hide the fact that this bill targeted lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people. SB 1062 would have undercut the non-discrimination ordinances that include sexual orientation passed by several Arizona municipalities. Other states that are considering or have recently considered similar legislation include Kansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Missouri, Ohio, and Idaho.

“We won this round, but we must remain vigilant in Arizona and elsewhere because many states have contemplated or are contemplating bills similar in nature to SB 1062, and may do so again in the future,” said Arizona attorney George C. Chen, president-elect of NAPABA. “Religious freedom is important, but discrimination under the guise of religious freedom is not acceptable anywhere in our nation. At the same time, we need to support the work of many cities in Arizona (including Phoenix, Tucson, and Flagstaff) that have passed non-discrimination ordinances regarding sexual orientation. Individuals, corporations, professional organizations, and many others in these communities strongly opposed SB 1062, and it was in large part due to their efforts that pressure was brought to bear on Governor Brewer.”

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 40,000 attorneys and 67 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal service and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government. NAPABA continues to be a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network of committees and affiliates, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of the federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes the professional development of people of color in the legal profession.

PRESS RELEASE: NAPABA CONDEMNS ARIZONA LEGISLATION THAT BOLSTERS BUSINESSES’ ABILITY TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST LGBT PEOPLE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                          February 24, 2014 

Contact: Emily Chatterjee                                                   (202) 775-9555

NAPABA CONDEMNS ARIZONA LEGISLATION THAT BOLSTERS
BUSINESSES’ ABILITY TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST LGBT PEOPLE
Calls on Governor Jan Brewer to veto bill

WASHINGTON — The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) strongly urges Arizona Governor Jan Brewer to veto legislation passed by the Arizona state legislature last Thursday that, under the guise of religious freedom, would enable discrimination against individuals who identify as LGBT.

“NAPABA has a long-standing commitment to supporting the civil rights of all members of our community, including our LGBT brothers and sisters,” said William J. Simonitsch, president of NAPABA. “While NAPABA respects the sincerely held religious beliefs of all people, religion has unfortunately been misused by some historically as an excuse to oppress people of color and people of other religions. For many it justified slavery, segregation, and the criminalizing of interracial marriages. The employment of a religious justification to now excuse the discrimination of LGBT people is just as reprehensible.”

If Governor Brewer does not veto Arizona House Bill 2153/Senate Bill 1062 by this coming Friday, Arizona will soon allow individuals and for-profit corporations to discriminate against anyone if they claim to be acting in the name of their religious convictions. This includes refusing services to members of the LGBT community and denying equal benefits to women in the workplace. On its face, it could be used as justification for discriminating against anyone, on any grounds, so long as a free religious exercise claim is asserted.

“As a long-time citizen of Arizona and as a former President of the Arizona Asian American Bar Association, I believe that this bill does not represent our state, and we categorically denounce this and all legislation targeting disenfranchised groups, including the LGBT and immigrant communities,” said George C. Chen, president-elect of NAPABA. “Religious freedom is an important part of our society, but this bill is about legalizing discrimination, not about religious freedom. Governor Brewer needs to veto this bill.”

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 40,000 attorneys and 67 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal service and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government. NAPABA continues to be a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network of committees and affiliates, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of the federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes the professional development of people of color in the legal profession.

AAARI: Microaggressions and the LGBT Community

This talk is free and open to the general public.

Dr. Kevin Nadal will discuss his new book, That’s So Gay!: Microagressions and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community. People who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) experience subtle forms of discrimination, also known as microaggressions. Microaggressions are commonplace interactions that occur in a wide variety of social settings, including school or the workplace, among friends and family, and even among other LGBT people. These accumulated experiences are associated with feelings of victimization, suicidal thinking, and higher rates of substance abuse, depression, and other health problems among members of the LGBT community.

In his book, Dr. Nadal provides a thought-provoking review of the literature on discrimination and microaggressions toward LGBT people. Dr. Nadal’s books also includes advice for mental health practitioners, organizational leaders, educators, and students who want to adopt LGBT-accepting worldviews and practices.

Kevin Nadal is an award-winning professor, psychologist, performer, activist, and author, who received his doctorate in counseling psychology from Columbia University in New York City. Currently, Dr. Nadal is an Associate Professor of psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice- City University of New York, where he is also the deputy director of the Forensic Mental Health Counseling Program. He is the author of the books Filipino American Psychology: A Handbook of Theory, Research, and Clinical Practice (2011, John Wiley and Sons) and Filipino American Psychology: A Collection of Personal Narratives (2010, Author House), a co-editor of Women and Mental Disorders (2011, Praeger), and the author of That’s So Gay: Microaggressions and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community (2013, APA Books).

To RSVP for this talk, please visit www.aaari.info/13-11-08Nadal.htm. Please be prepared to present proper ID when entering the building lobby. For those unable to attend, you can view the live webcast on our homepage beginning at 6:15PM EST, or access the streaming video and audio podcast the following week. 

Rio Guerrero: “If DOMA Falls, Immigration Will Rise”

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Hon. Doris Ling-Cohan Honored by LeGaL

LeGaL, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Bar Association of Greater New York, held its 2012 Pride Celebration on June 22 at the Andaz Hotel.  The theme was “Honoring the Women of Marriage Equality,” to mark the one-year anniversary of the passage of landmark marriage equality legislation in New York.  Among the honorees was the Hon. Doris Ling-Cohan, Justice of the Supreme Court, New York County.  Judge Ling-Cohan authored the decision in Hernandez v. Robles (2005), making national headlines when she sided with the plaintiffs in their argument that the State of New York violated their constitutional rights by denying them marriage equality.  Although Judge Ling-Cohan was reversed on appeal, her position was ultimately vindicated when Governor Cuomo signed marriage equality into law in June 2011.  Congratulations to Judge Ling-Cohan on this distinction and honor!

LeGaL Pride Celebraton 2012