June 27, 2011
Mass wedding draws Catholic ire in the Philippines
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has condemned gay marriage following a religious wedding in Baguio City that involved seven lesbian couples and a gay male couple.
The wedding was conducted by pastors of the protestant Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) during Baguio Pride. Gay marriage does not exist as a civil institution in the Philippines, but representatives of the MCC argue that “holy unions” do not require legal recognition.
MCC pastor Myke Sotero explained that the service was “a Christian celebration of love and relationship.”
This view was not shared by National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal Judicial Vicar Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz of the CBCP. “Even if they get married, five times, 10 times, 20 times, or 100 times, no wedding had taken place. It was not a legal matrimony,” he insisted.
Bishop of Baguio Carlito Cenzon sought to emphasise that the MCC “is not a part or affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church,” during an interview with Radio Veritas.
“We should pity these people. They are probably having a hard time. Although we can understand them as we are trying to accept them, however, unions are not exceptions,” he added. “Accepting LGBTs is not synonymous to accepting them also in their sexual activities.”
The mass wedding was also condemned by evangelical Protestant leaders. “These same-sex weddings will further weaken our already struggling family and community structures,” argued the Association of the Ministers from Baguio-Benguet in a statement released before the mass wedding.
Around 90% of the Philippine population is Christian and around 80% belong to the Catholic Church. Bills both supporting and opposing same-sex marriage have been introduced to the country’s parliament in recent years, but all have stalled.
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