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NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews) — Pope Francis is misunderstood. The Pope does not approve or promote same sex marriage, which is taboo in the church, but encourages the State, as protector of the people, to recognize this existing arrangement and secure and protect the concerned as citizens of the sovereign land.

Same sex live-in relationship is getting increasingly common worldwide even among Catholic faithful. It’s a reality that is already difficult to simply ignore. The recognition of such union or partnership may come with a code that would define the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of these people. It may define the civil status of those in this union, perhaps, as “united” or “partnered” which may be equivalent to “married.” They may be allowed to adopt a family name that is recognized in all legal transactions. The civil union may prescribe their property rights, the acquisition and dissolution of the same when partnership is terminated; and the State is duty-bound in securing the rights of their adopted children, among others.

Whereas, the laws of the Church are almost or generally immutable; those of the State may easily change and adapt to the circumstances and reality of the times. Clearly moved by compassion but understanding the impossibility of doing it in his domain, Pope Francis nudges the State to take action on the issue of same sex union, which he believes it can rationally resolve in favor of the aggrieved sector of society. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan, Ph.D., is retired professor and former chancellor of Mindanao State University at Naawan, Misamis Oriental, Philippines.)

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