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Prop 8: In Little Saigon, activists push for recognition

March 26, 2013|By Anh Do
  • A supporter of same-sex marriage holds a rainbow flag outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington on Tuesday.
A supporter of same-sex marriage holds a rainbow flag outside the U.S. Supreme… (Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg )

Members of a Vietnamese LGBT group closely followed the U.S. Supreme Court hearing Tuesday, anxious about the eventual outcome and hopeful that it will help change deeply rooted feelings about gay rights in the immigrant community.

“I'm excited that this issue has reached the highest level of the law. I only hope our immigrant families can learn more so they can open themselves up more," said Hieu Nguyen, a social worker from Garden Grove and a member of Partnership of Viet LGBT Organizations.

The group was excluded earlier this year from the long-running Tet parade, a colorful event in Little Saigon that it meant to unite the community on the Lunar New Year.

FULL COVERAGE: Battle over gay marriage

Members of the LGBT group, instead, lined the route and some political participants in the parade made a point of acknowledging them, in several cases walking over to stand with them.

Nguyen said the Supreme Court hearing presented an opportunity for his group to become part of the mainstream gay rights movement.

“We need to stay on top of this, to push the momentum of the movement — and our own situation," said Nguyen, who like many others wore red to work Tuesday as a sign of support for same-sex marriage.

Nguyen said he and his partner are among those waiting to take what they see as the next natural step in their lives.

"Like every other couple who have been in a relationship for several years, we're having a conversation about wanting to start a family,” he said. “And we want to be official so we can have all the benefits that everyone else has."

Members of the Vietnamese group plan to attend a candlelight vigil in Santa Ana outside the federal building, joining ranks with other gay rights activists.

In Washington, The Times reported, justices sounded closely split on gay marriage but Justice Anthony M. Kennedy suggested the court should strike down California’s ban on same-sex marriage without ruling broadly on the issue.

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anh.do@latimes.com

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