Attention: Members of Congress
“PIA supports legalization of same-sex marriage. As the world fetes the LGBTQ community this Pride Month, beauty queen-turned actress Pia Wurtzback expresses support for same sex marriage. She says she began dreaming of seeing its legalization in the Philippines after Taiwan and Ecuador (a Catholic country) approved such unions earlier this month. Pia has been championing LGBTQ rights even before winning the 2015 Miss Universe crown”. (Armin P. Adina, Philippine Daily Inquirer, June 25, 2019).
US Ambassador Sung Kim, on the other hand, who considers the LGBTQ as a marginalized sector commented: “We continue to get reports of incidents of discrimination and abuse against LGBTQ persons, including in employment, education, health care, housing and social services. Achieving a world without discrimination is not going to be easy. But it is a responsibility that we all must continue to shoulder.”
In her recent article “A milestone for gay rights,” Laura Bonilla wrote: “In the late 1960s, homosexuality was still seen as a mental illness, and gay sex was illegal across the United States except in Illinois (the state of Lincoln and Obama). Millions of gay and lesbian Americans lived their lives in secret, for fear they would lose their jobs or homes if their true selves were discovered.
Per “Love-yourself,” a non-profit organization specializing on LGBTQ’s affairs, it conducts “talk to educate people, but the hardest challenge to overcome would be separating religious beliefs from legal issues, such as LGBTQ – people getting equal rights as non-LGBTQ people, and having legal protection from gender-based discrimination.”
Being a Catholic, what’s my take issue? God commands us to “love our neighbor as we love ourselves.” I strongly believe that we cannot really love God without loving our neighbors. That is my personal diamond rule! It follows, therefore, that I truly love our LGBTQs, they being my “neighbors”, and really care for their wellbeing. As have been said: “Love is God and God is love.” Please bear that in mind as we discuss this issue.”
I’m fully aware that I’ll be treading here on a very controversial religious and holistic issue more so that I used to be an Extra-Ordinary Minister of the Eucharist of St. Jude Parish at Malvar St., Davao City and former columnist of the weekly Catholic Herald of the Diocese of Davao. Believe me that I’m doing this for love – for the marginalized members of the LGBTQ community. Your “wisdom of discernment” is hereby requested, on this issue.
I’m likewise in the know that our Church also loves members of the LGBTQ for they are God’s creation too but abnor homosexual acts per se. In the Old Testament, there was this rule of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”. This old rule is no longer practiced by our Church today. “Maraming tao kasi ang mabubulag at mabubungi kung pinatuloy pa ito.”
Furthermore, in the Old Testament, Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by God because of so many sinful people in these two places some of whom engaged in homosexual acts while others outside of marriage engaged in lustful sexual acts. In the New Testament. The new rule now is LOVE! Love shuns discrimination. True love deepens our understanding and conquers all.
We must also learn to clearly distinguish between the person and his/her act – between love and sex, between marriage and legal union. We must respect one’s personhood but abhor his/her evil acts. In the same vein while we should love one another, we should not have sex with just anyone else. Sex is reserved only for husband and wife. Sex outside of marriage (or union) is forbidden by God. Thus if any unmarried (out of union) couples have sex, that undoubtedly, is a grave sin.
We define here marriage as a moral and legal relationship between a man a woman. Legal union here means two persons of the same gender legally united under a newly enacted law in the Philippines. This humble writer, using careful discernment and caring heart, deeply believes and endorses publicly the urgent passing of a law by Congress that will legalize the union of same-sex lovers. As to the morality of this legal union, let our loving and merciful God be the judge. Per info, “Pope Francis opened the doors and minds, when he answered “Who am I to judge’ after he was asked about LGBTQs seeking holiness and care in the Catholic Church.”
Columnist Michael Baylosis, last June 28, 2019 wrote in his column “IAMGENM’ of the Philippine Daily Inquirer about his close gay friends’ rating: “Apparently, there erupted a big online argument over the possibility of same-sex civil unions in the country. He sent me a screenshot of an online poll conducted by the House of Representatives. He was frustrated over how the choices in the poll were phrased. As a researcher I told him, “This wouldn’t even pass Goods and Scates’ referring to a research instrument evaluation tool.” “Pati ba naman sa survey may bias pa rin!” it’s about time that our society changes its thinking about LGBTQ.
Frankly, I find it hard to accept the argument that the millions LGBTQs in the world created by God out of love are not entitled to love someone of their own choice to be their lifetime partner through a legal union. That all of them must be required to be celibates to enter the Kingdom of God. It seems that we are condemning them, to hell this way.
Several years ago, I started writing a book on Sex Education which unfortunately has not been finished. In my research then, I came across a statement of a Catholic priest in a country, where same sex marriage is legally allowed. His justification of same sex marriage is love! Similarly my main personal justification for legal union (not married) of same sex individuals is also love. My secondary reason is for the two persons to be able to legally exercise some legal rights and privileges of married couple and help in the prevention of AIDS.
I’m aware that many of my fellow Catholics will question my position on this issue. Even my devout Catholic wife does not agree with me in this regard. So be it. However, I plea to them to open their hearts to the millions of LGBTQs created by God in our midst calling for equal treatment and acceptance. The test of love is not on them but on us. People who are apathetic do not care, discriminate, hypocrite, hate, and biased will surely fail such test.
Borrowing the words of a certain U.P. Diliman instructor Ms. Athena Charanne Presto, “Finally, it is important to see the constraining dimension of the process of liberation (of the LGBTQ). The more we understand this, the more able we are to push for (their) human rights and assert them in the face of a government (and society) that sit on the violation of these civil rights.”
Long live love!