CBCP calls same-sex weddings held in Baguio illegal and an insult to the Catholic Church
(SPOT.ph) After New York passed a law legalizing gay marriage last week, several same-sex weddings were held in Baguio City over the weekend, and the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is adamant that such unions will never be recognized in the Catholic Church, reports ABS-CBN News.
The wedding rites of a male couple and seven lesbian couples are an insult to the Catholic Church, as well as the country's Civil Code, Baguio bishop Carlito Cenzon said in the report. The unions were solemnized by pastors of the Metropolitan Community Church (MMC) of Metro Baguio, which Cenzon said is not part of the Roman Catholic Church. The MMC, according to a GMA News report, has been conducting same-sex marriages since 1969.
MCC administrative pastor Rev. Ceejay Agbayani said they celebrate the ritual for any type of couple because weddings are a right of those who love each other. "Hindi naman pinagdadamot ng simbahan ang pagpapakasal dahil kagustuhan ito ng nagmamahalan...Ito ’yung tawag na pagbubukas sa mga LGBT. Saan pa sila pupunta kung ang simbahan nila ay sinasarahan sila? (The Church should not close its doors to people just because they want to get married... We should open ourselves to the LGBT. Where would they go if the Church closes its door to them?"
According to CBCP News, retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz, judicial vicar of the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal, said: "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." Quoting the Family Code, CBCP media office director Msgr. Pedro Quitorio said in the GMA report that marrying parties should be male and female of legal age. "So ano ito? Ito ba ay simulation o laro lamang? Dahil sa ating konteksto, hindi (ito) marriage. (Are these weddings a simulation or a game? In the context of the Family Code, it's not a marriage.)?" he said, adding that MCC cannot issue couples a marriage license.
However, Atty. Clara Rita Padilla, executive director of nongovernmental organization EnGendeRights, told GMA News that while MCC-conducted weddings are not recognized civilly, they are not illegal. "Because of their religious freedom, it's valid within their religious rights," she said.