Judge Rules Against Gays In Tet Parade

Gay PrideCALIFORNIA – A coalition of gay and lesbian groups lost its bid in court Thursday to force the Little Saigon Tet Parade organizers to include the group in this Sunday’s event.
Orange County Superior Court Judge Geoffrey T. Glass ruled against granting injunctive relief to the Partnership of Viet Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Organizations.
The coalition’s leaders expressed disappointment but said they will be at the parade — both as spectators and as participants.
“We will be there. And we will celebrate with our Vietnamese family,” said Tuan Trong Le, co-founder of the Gay Vietnamese Alliance.
Even though the coalition is not allowed to join as a group, individual members will walk with at least one other participating group, and they plan to carry signs thanking the community for their support, said LGBT organizer Natalie Newton.
Other LGBT members will be cheering on from the sidelines during the parade that will march along Bolsa Avenue, beginning at 9 a.m.
Dina Nguyen, one of two attorneys who represented the parade organizers, said after the court hearing: “We respect everyone’s human rights.
“Sometimes there are tough decisions, and these decisions need to be made by the court,” said Nguyen, who also is a Garden Grove councilwoman.
Nguyen and attorney Mark Rosen represented the Vietnamese Federation of Southern California, which is coordinating numerous groups that are working to put on this year’s parade.
For years, the city of Westminster traditionally spearheaded the annual event, but this year could not afford to host it. Vietnamese American groups stepped up to put on the event and pay for it.
During the past three years, the city accepted the LGBT group’s participation. The Vietnamese American parade organizing committee did not.
The young leaders of the LGBT group moved quickly to coordinate a campaign that included a demonstration and an outreach to the community through English and Vietnamese-language media.
“In a sense, my clients have already won because the issue of gays rights is now front and center,” said attorney Luan Tran, who represented the LGBT coalition.
Ian Van Cong, a member of the LGBT group, said: “Even if we didn’t’ win in court, we won with the community.”
In the past week, support came from various quarters, including the Garden Grove Unified School District, which agreed to pull a school bus carrying school board members and students out of the parade.
The group has also received the support of Sen. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana.
“He’s supportive of their efforts and will write a letter to the parade organizers encouraging them to include everyone,” said Tammy Tran, Correa’s district director.
Other letters poured in from various local and national organizations that focus on civil rights including: ACLU, the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, Lambda Legal, the Public Law Center and the API Equality-LA.
One of their key local supporters is the Union of Vietnamese Student Associations of Southern California, which will allow some of the LGBT members to join them as guests this Sunday. That student association is the sponsor of the popular Tet Festival, which begins Friday at Garden Grove Park.
from The Orange County Register

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