Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Some bishops oppose SC ruling on gay group

January 13, 2010 17:53:00
Dona Pazzibugan
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Original Story:

MANILA, Philippines—A number of Catholic bishops have assailed the Supreme Court's order allowing the gay party-list group Ang Ladlad provisional accreditation with the Commission on Elections, insisting that gays do not need separate representation in Congress since all laws apply to them anyway.

The Catholic Church leaders they were concerned Ang Ladlad would push for the legalization of same-sex marriage.

Bishop Crispin Varquez of Borongan, Eastern Samar, said he was adamantly opposed to the idea of a party-list representative for gays because he anticipated they would file “immoral” legislation.

“They do not need representation. All laws are intended for men and women, gay or lesbian,” Varquez told Radio Veritas.

He added in Filipino: “It will be very dangerous if Ang Ladlad is put into office. There's a big possibility that they will push for immoral bills. They are already in favor of pre-marital sex and for sure they will push for same-sex marriage. That's why they should not be allowed in the party-list elections.”

“What would happen to our government and society if all the lawmakers we would elect into office are immoral?” he went on.

While the Catholic Church maintains it is not against homosexuals, it considers the sexual practices of homosexuals immoral.

Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani, one of the framers of the 1987 Constitution that provides for party-list representation in Congress, said he was not opposed to giving gays a voice as a party-list group “but they should exercise responsibility.”

He said he was also concerned about the advocacies Ang Ladlad is expected to push for in Congress, such as the legalization of same-sex marriage.

“If they will be given a voice (in Congress) they also have to have responsible advocacies. We are worried that they would promote bills that could destroy society,” he said in Filipino.

Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes and Kalookan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez said they were not in favor of Ang Ladlad's accreditation.

“There is an abnormality in the situation. The Supreme Court should explain why they recognized this group,” Iñiguez said.

“I think the Comelec is right in disqualifying Ang Ladlad. I believe such a party-list group will not redound to the good of this nation,” Bastes said.

Baguio Bishop Carlito Cenzon and Antipolo Auxiliary Bishop Francis De Leon said there was no need to have a party-list representative for gays in the first place.

Cenzon said regular congressmen were expected to represent their constituents, including gays.

“They are accepted by society in general and well-represented especially in entertainment so there is no need to represent them in Congress,” De Leon said.

Fr. Melvin Castro, executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, said it was not good to have a separate category for gay rights.

“It only puts society in danger. There are more marginalized sectors like the fisherfolk and indigenous people who should be given a chance in Congress. All laws are intended for men and women, whether gay or lesbian,” he said.

“We respect them but we can not hold them to their word that once in Congress they would not push for same-sex marriage or any issue that is immoral in the eyes of the Catholic Church. Things change once you're in office. If they are against gender discrimination, we already have many laws against discrimination,” Castro said.

Original Story:

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