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ASIAN AMERICANS AND SEXUALITY

Updated on July 31, 2014

THE ASIAN AMERICAN LEGISLATURE PERCEPTION ON SEXUALITY

First off, everyone is entitled to their opinion of sexuality. This article is not based on general perceptions, but the numbers derived from voting patterns.

The constitution of Hawaii was amended to grant the legislature power to prevent same sex marriage recognition in Hawaii. On November 3 1998, Hawaii voters approved the amendment by a vote of 69.2 % against 28.6%. A significant proportion of the Hawaii population is Asian American. It is thus safe to assume that they indeed did vote as a bloc.

Why Asian Americans Voted to Prevent Same-Sex Marriages

Their reasons to bring the ban to pass, though also political, were mainly based on the moral stand of the community. Their traditional and modern views on the institution that is marriage pushed this stand. Moreover, they didn’t want these values being passed down on their children. For instance, were same sex marriages to be allowed, students curriculum on marriages would be changed to state that same sex and opposite sex marriages were the same and both were okay.


California’s Proposition 8

The legislature in the proposition 8 in California registered similar results. This time it was to add a provision in the California constitution that ‘only marriage between a man and a woman would be recognized in California’. This in effect outlawed same sex marriages. The Asian American electorate have a massive influence to this outcome. A survey by Asian Pacific American Legal Centre (APALC) intricately showed their voting trends. These go further to bringing into perspective the Asian Americans and their views on sexuality.

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The Effect of Different Generations on Sexuality Perception

Traditionalist views can be divided into the 1st and 2nd generation views. The former being those who are immigrants and the latter being those born there. The 1st generation, who can be assumedly deemed as the elder, were more in support of the proposition, with similar patterns being witnessed in every Asian ethic group whereby approximately two-third or three-fourths of the over 65 voting for it.

Of stark contrast was the voting pattern of the 2nd generation. Those between 18 and 34 voted massively against the proposal (69% to 31%). This was witnessed across the counties with the 2nd generation voting in large numbers against the proposal and their parents voting for it.


Sexuality-Differences between the East and the West

There has been different conceptualization on sexuality by the East and the West. While the west bases it on assimilation with modernity, the east are more in gender transgression and preserving trends passed down by those before them on what is morally right and what is moral decadence. Sexuality views in the east are however being altered progressively. Why is this so?

This has been due to a variety of factors, such as deindustrialization through free trade and foreign investment. This causes cultural changes to be witnessed as people traversing into new localities are affected by the culture of the locals and they also in turn affect the locals’ culture. There has also been effect brought about by western education which is becoming more acceptive of sexual tendencies previously looked down upon. There have also been gender equality changes, where no gender is now deemed to be above the other.

What influenced Asian American Voting Patterns

Among the Asian Americans, voting trends for the proposal were influenced by a variety of factors. Of these majorly was religion, whereby, according to the survey, 71% of those who never attended religious services were most likely to oppose the proposal. Those who regularly attended them were more likely to have supported the proposal, at an impressive 75%. English proficiency too countered in, with support for the proposal decreasing with increasing level of English proficiency.

Sexuality-A Political or Moral Issue?

This is a debatable issue. While leaders offer one stand in their private lives, they seem to alter this in their public addresses. Let’s look at the voting pattern of the Proposition 8 and what affected it. The outcome of the proposal’s voting were 52% in support and 48% in opposition. This goes a long way is showing that the Asian Americans are a swing vote in California though they didn’t vote as a bloc as was witnessed before with the Hawaii legislature. This was due to influence brought about by groups such as the Japanese American Citizen League (JACL) that came out openly in opposition.

This was crated into a political issue rather than a moral one as the proposal was termed to be against the constitutional equality protection clause guaranteeing equality for all. Religious organisations such as the Roman Catholic Church together with other organisations such as traditional marriage organisations firmly supported the proposal.

However, despite the disparity, it can be concluded that a majority were for the proposal. The numbers have spoken.

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