Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Gay rights groups welcome Pope Francis' comments on same-sex civil union

LGBTQI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex) advocates have welcomed the public endorsement of Pope Francis on creating “civil union law” for same-sex couples to be “legally covered.”

“Ladlad Party-List welcomes this statement from the Pope. While it does not alter Church dogma, it provides a legal way for LGBTQI couples to form their own families,” said Professor Danton Remoto, chairman of Ladlad.

"As this terrible pandemic has shown, what matters in the end is companionship and love," he said.

LGBTQ+ rights group Bahaghari added that “while we of course push for genuine marriage equality, we welcome Pope Francis' position on the LGBTQ+ community’s inalienable right to form a family.”

“Perhaps the Philippine government, which prides itself as a staunchly Catholic state, wants to take notes from the head of the Catholic Church himself?” read the group’s statement.

In a new documentary that premiered in the Rome film festival on October 21, Pope Francis said “homosexual people have a right to be in a family.”

“They are children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable over it. What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered. I stood up for that,” said Pope Francis in a documentary film, Francesco.

Reverend Crescencio Agbayani Jr., pastor of Quezon City-based LGBTS Christian Church Inc., said they will continue their fight despite the Supreme Court dismissing with finality the petition to allow same-sex marriage in the country in January 2020.

“Sana makinig na ang mambabatas,” Agbayani told SunStar Philippines.

Agbayani earlier maintained that “same-sex marriage is not about religion, but about the equal protection of the law.”

Agbayani, who continued to hold holy union rites for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders, maintained that “our Constitution states that no one should be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor shall anyone be denied of equal protection of the law.”

“LGBT couples are family, too. They need security and peace of mind that our partners for life are also our partners under the law,” the pastor said.

“We are Filipinos who pay taxes and serve our country, too. We deserve to have our relationship as a family legally recognized,” he added.

As this developed, Malacañang maintained that President Rodrigo Duterte is supportive of a measure of civil union of same-sex couples.

“The President has said over and over again: Pabor po siya sa isang batas na magre-recognize ng civil union sa same-sex relationships,” said Presidential spokesman Harry Roque on Thursday, October 22.

Media ‘misinterpretation’

Cebu Catholic priest Roy Cimagala said the news about Pope Francis and his statement on gay couples vis-a-vis civil union is “another case of journalistic reporting that certainly fails to consider all aspects of the statement.”

“Such reporting usually treats such statements at face value and hardly goes any further. It's not done with much depth, and so it has to be taken with a grain of salt,” Cimagala said.

“It's a statement that is not given by the Pope ‘ex cathedra.’ It's more his personal opinion, although of course even his opinions should be taken seriously. It's not subject to the infabillity rule,” the priest wrote.

According to Cimagala, the public “have to feel at home with the reality that Popes can have opinions with which we may not be in agreement.”

“And they can be wrong in their personal opinions. We should not be surprised by that. Try to imagine St. Peter with all his impulsiveness. I am quite certain that even if he was guided by the Holy Spirit, he was not totally freed of weaknesses and even mistakes in his views and actuations,” he said.

“Remember that he was corrected by St. Paul. And in the history of the papacy, we have Pope with scandalous lives, but who did not compromise the integrity of what belongs to Christian faith and morals. It's clear that the Pope's intention is good, that is, to be more charitably accommodating with those in some irregular situation if only to maintain a good relationship with them in spite of our big-time conflicts,” he added.

However, the priest said that “in our differences and conflicts with the Pope and with anybody, charity should never be lost even if we are sure the other party is totally wrong.”

“Some legal recognition of same sex unions may be tolerated while not approved if only to achieve a greater good -- maintain good relation with people in irregular situations for the sake of charity and the possibility of conversion,” Cimagala said in a report from Catholic news site (SunStar Philippines)


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