8 Asians

Korean Americans and Gay Marriage

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So, my parents and I don’t see eye to eye on much. Shocker! For instance, a hot-button issue to generally avoid in our house is homosexuality and gay marriage. I remember being home for a few days – a short visit – and I desperately wanted to watch Ellen because Steve Carrell was the guest. He just makes me laugh. I had it on and my father insisted on turning it off. Of course, I threw a slight tantrum, but let it go. I knew it was simply because Ellen is gay, and there is just no point in arguing with him on this issue because I always end up with a migraine.

Maybe it’s random, but it’s been on my mind because in many churches, particularly in my denomination, the legitimacy of gays and lesbians in leadership and gay marriage are constantly hotly debated at every level. It is generally even more intensely opposed in Korean American churches (I’m mostly familiar with Presbyterian churches). A while back, I received a link about an SF Weekly article on a new poll about Korean Americans and their feelings about gay marriage. It wasn’t surprising to me, at all – sad, yes, but not inconsistent. I can’t tell if there’s more of a Korean cultural basis for the opposition or if it’s because of Western/North American Evangelical Christian roots found in many Asian North American faith communities (which tend to be more socially/politically conservative)…or maybe both.

I found an article on SBS’s new drama called Life is Beautiful in which there was the possibility of a scene with a gay wedding and it commented on the same: more opposition, this time from citizens in the motherland. I’m not much of a Korean drama freak so I’m not sure how it turned actually out. Also, back in the fall a Bay Area pastor had even gone so far as to run (expensive?) ads as a campaign for California’s Prop 8.  It occurs both there and here, and perhaps not only for religious reasons.

I’m still hopeful somehow – even if I can’t change my parents’ views on it, I know that I can, and I certainly will raise my own children to be tolerant and open for cultural and religious reasons.

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