SAN MATTEO – Influential Chinese American evangelicals vowed to continue preserving the definition of traditional marriage in California-state legislature, on Saturday, after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger promised this past week to veto a bill that would allow gay marriage.
“In order to successfully petition for a state constitutional-amendment that would define marriage as one-man-one-woman, we urgently need 700,000 signatures from California voters,” said Dr. Bill Tam, general secretary of the Traditional Family Coalition (TFC), in a jam-packed church 21 miles south of San Francisco.
Two years ago, TFC joined Protectmarriage.com , a coalition representing Christians of various ethnicities whose goals was to collect 700,000 signatures to petition for a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Only 300,000 signatures were collected at the time.
Nonetheless, Tam suggested, the TFC is “is not alone” in its two-year struggle to raise support amongst Chinese Christians to keep the traditional definition of marriage in California.
Last year, TFC participated in “American Return to God”, a nationwide grassroots-movement led by Chinese evangelicals opposed to the rising secular tide in U.S. society.
Evangelical Chinese leaders are increasingly concerned that pro-gay messages promoted in secular media may eventually sway second-generation Chinese Americans toward supporting same-sex marriage.
A poll in June 2006 suggested that 48 per cent of California residents opposed gay-marriage, in contrast with 55 per cent opposed in 2000.
“In two years, it is likely that even more people will favor gay marriage,” said Tam, who pointed out that the one-man, one-woman marriage has long been a cherished Chinese tradition.
“That is why we must act now; [acting] later will be too late.”
Since 2005, Sunnyvale-based group has represented the only significant Chinese American voice in support of tradition marriage in the United States.
In early 2006, TFC denounced the controversial movie Brokeback Mountain for “tempting youth to explore homosexuality” during a press conference, which received wide coverage by ABC news and Chinese-language media. This partially led to banning of the film in China, Tam believes.
In June, coalition representatives spoke on local television to criticize a group liberal ministers whom had voiced support for gay marriage in a press conference. Dr. Bill Tam was quoted as saying that the ministers misinterpreted the Bible during an interview televised on Channel 26, a major Chinese-language news network.
“Since the dawn of Adam and Eve, family has been made up of 'one-husband, one-wife' and 'one-man, one-woman,'” said Rev. Thomas Wang, an internationally-prominent Chinese evangelical who is currently leading TFC’s board of directors.
“This is already the family system from the beginning, and it cannot be changed because this is what God created.”