Same-Sex Marriage Divides Small City

New America Media, News Report, Rupa Dev Posted: Oct 27, 2008

Editor's Note: Less than a week after thousands of mostly Asian supporters of Proposition 8 descended on Cupertino, California in a church-organized demonstration of their opposition to same-sex marriage, a diverse group of residents of this usually quiet city staged a counter rally against Prop 8 and in support of same-sex rights. Rupa Dev is a contributor to New America Media.

CUPERTIN0, Calif., -- Recently Long Ong, 31, was waiting at a stoplight in nearby Saratoga when a group of young protestors rallying against same-sex marriage walked up to his car and asked, "Voting yes on Prop 8?" Ong said he was not, so they got angry and called Ong "faggot" and other slurs.

Proposition 8 is one of many initiatives on California's ballot for the Nov. 4 elections, but none has generated as much heat or publicity. If approved, Prop 8 would eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry and would define marriage as legal only between a man and woman.

Ong's confrontation with protestors on Oct. 19 was just a few miles from a Cupertino rally organized by Prop 8 supporters from some 100 churches. Called "Stand for Marriage," the rally attracted more than 4,000 Chinese Christians, many carrying signs declaring such messages as, "God created marriage! One man, one woman!"

But Cupertino, a small city with a large Asian population also has supporters of same-sex marriage. Some Prop 8 opponents began organizing to counter the impact and message of the church-sponsored rally. Cupertino resident Gloria Nieto, director of community affairs for San Jose's Billy DeFrank LGBT Community Center, moved quickly to orchestrate protests at five local major traffic intersections last weekend.
By midday Saturday, more than 80 people, including Ong, had converged on one site to promote their message in the heavily trafficked corridor. Chanting "No on eight," protestors waived signs in English and Chinese that proclaimed "Honk for equality."

Despite the large turnout by Asians at the pro-Prop 8 rally, a recent poll of California voters conducted by the National Asian American Survey found that 57 percent of Asian Americans are likely to vote against PROP 8.

Steve Bok, 21, a Chinese-American social worker with the National Association of Social Workers, considers opposition to same-sex marriage another form of discrimination. "Most of my family and friends are all against Prop 8 because they once experienced the Chinese Exclusion Act," he said. "Prop 8 is the Chinese Exclusion Act of 2008."

Jill Lan, a Cupertino resident of Chinese descent joined the protest with husband Rob Green. "The church is advocating "Yes on 8,'" she said, "but we all know individuals that would be affected by Prop 8 being passed."

"We believe in a fair society," Green said, "and just like interracial marriages and women's rights, this is a civil rights issue and this is something I wanted to take an unequivocal stance on."

Many Cupertino families with young children joined the protest. "I've seen those misleading early education ads the pro-8 campaign is running, and I just feel it's better to talk to my kids about these issues directly, on my own," said Diana Farsai, who brought her twins Arman and Ariana.

"People should be allowed to marry whomever they want," said Arman, a fourth grade student at Christa McAuliffe Elementary school in Cupertino. "There are four kids in my class with gay family members."

Jessica Rose wanted her three children aged 6, 8, and 10, to understand the basic issues involved even though they are complicated. "It's just really hard to explain to my kids that some of our community members, despite being good people, hate gay people," Rose said.

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Latino Leaders Say No to Prop. 8

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User Comments

JohnnyC on Nov 04, 2008 at 14:36:51 said:

Vincent Chen said "Can you imagine what would happen if a chinaman marries a white woman? They\'d start having mutant halfbreeds". Most interesting. You see, nature grants that halfbreeds may come of interracial marriages, but not so when 2 men or 2 women engage sexually. They cannot produce offsprings by default, period. So you are comparing apples and oranges. Normal couples also have restrictions on marriage, for the common good of society. For example, you could not marry your grandmother even if you were in love with her. So the argument that just because 2 people are in love they should be able to do whatever they want is down the drain. Sure, do it if you wish, but don't expect the society to condone this dysfunctional behavior. Also, the Chinese culture is 5000 years old which also condemns homosexual behavior especially sodomy. Those Chinese Americans could disavows themselves or their culture but the culture stands. No need to be "hip" to be a sodomite. Be a part of a productive society.

Vincent Chen on Nov 04, 2008 at 10:12:37 said:

Only since 1948 was it legal for a Chinese man to marry a white woman in CA. Before then, a Chinese man would be thrown in jail for such a heinous \"crime\".

How would YOU feel if you weren\'t allowed to marry the person you loved?

Why? because, back then, the \"definition\" of traditional marriage was between a WHITE man and a WHITE woman.

A chinaman was less than an animal back then as the penalty to marry white was extreme.

Can you imagine what would happen if a chinaman marries a white woman? They\'d start having mutant halfbreeds, and they would start to teaching about interracial \"marriages\" in schools. Society would go to hell! What would be next, incest and polygamy? It was already happening in Utah, it\'s going to happen in CA.

That\'s right folks, Prop 8 is the Chinese Exclusion Act of 2008. Actually, it\'s worse, because gays have the right to marry now, and Prop 8 takes away those rights. Scary, isn\'t it.

JohnnyC on Nov 03, 2008 at 22:00:06 said:

Stand up and vote YES for 8, for the common good of society. False compassion and selfishness cannot trump nature.

Cain Hamm on Oct 30, 2008 at 22:13:56 said:

I am very disappointed in my Cupertino neighbors who Support prop 8.

Proposition 8 will legalize incest and polygamy! See

I don't want to marry my sister. I'm voting NO on Proposition 8.

MikeNYC on Oct 29, 2008 at 07:11:54 said:

pbj you seem to think the constitution is just there for your convenience when it agrees with you. The law forced on the state by Prop 22 was against the constitution and like anti-miscegenation laws, was overturned. If you don't like the fact that we have freedom and justice for ALL in this country, you are free to find a country that is more to your liking.

Dempsey on Oct 29, 2008 at 07:03:58 said:


Despite what Prop 8 supporters claim Prop 8 does in fact take away rights which include pension plan survivor benefits, no guaranteed leave when family member is ill, long-term care insurance, state veteran benefits, tax exemption of inheritance, exemption from testifying against spouse, tax exemption of assets between spouses and marriage.

MatthewSheff on Oct 29, 2008 at 00:27:25 said:


You bigots believe that the bible created marriage, if that is so why is it controlled by our government. No where in the bible does it state that a man can divorce a woman. So protect that sanctity of your marriage definition, moving on, the legal right to get married is controlled by the law of state, not church. So keep that separate. Now with those in tune, kids in school don't even get educated about the basic principles of sex until they hit puberty, and even then they don't get taught what is wrong or right, just what is safe. I mean really are straight people scared that someone could love a same gender? It is discrimination and it does remove legal rights and it does not commence a free fall for bestiality and false golden idols.

Stop the hate no on eight.

pbj on Oct 28, 2008 at 21:02:32 said:

I find it ridiculous that Prop 8's description is that it eliminates gay rights. Recall that Prop 22 defined, by act of the voters, marriage as between a man and a woman. That law was only overturned 5 months ago, on a specious argument that sexual preference constitutes a protected class, like race and gender. But race and gender are not behavioral characteristics. Prop. 8 reinstates the will of the people and makes clear equal protection does not apply to behavioral characteristics. Even if same-sex attraction isn't chosen, acting on it is. I may be attracted sexually to multiple women. Should I be permitted as a matter of equal protection to unite with all of them and call it "marriage," particularly if I already had a right to a civil union with all the same rights? Is that an equal protection issue? Nope.

MikeNYC on Oct 28, 2008 at 08:48:10 said:

MichaelTien, same sex marriage is a fact in the world today. Yes, when kids study Spain, Canada, the Netherlands, it's likely same sex marriage will be mentioned and that has NOTHING to do with proposition 8, so give up with that tired argument. Please show the laws in the countries you mention where incest and polygamy is legal. Polygamy is legal in a good part of the world today but not in those particular countries as far as I know. Once again you think silly scare tactics will work to further hate.

MichaelTien on Oct 28, 2008 at 00:44:33 said:

in Netherlands after same-sex marriage legalized in 2001. Incest and polygamy became legal today.
in Sweded today, siblings can legally marry after same-sex marriage legalized in 1994.
If you dont belive school will teach young children about gay marriage. Think again. It already happened in Massachusetts and parents can not opt out their children.
no on 8′ people please think again. Just like mayor Newsom said,Its coming whether you like it or not. You dont belive it now? Just wait and I hope you wont feel sorry later! YES ON 8″




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