Church not anti-gay, says priest

Posted at 12/09/2009 12:24 AM | Updated as of 12/09/2009 1:17 AM

...they're just anti-gay marriage.


MANILA, Philippines - Gay party list group Ang Ladlad has seemingly found an ally in the Church.

Father Melvin Castro of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said in a statement on Monday that homosexulity "does not equate with immorality", contrary to a Commission on Elections (Comelec) decision saying that gays are immoral.

And Ladlad claims to represent gays, lesbians, and transgender communities in the Philippines.

The Comelec refused to accredit the Ang Ladlad as a party list since the group reportedly promotes immorality and gays are threats to the youth.

Castro's seeming defense of gays ends there, however, since he opposed same-sex marriage in a statement dated December 7.

He added that the Church's stance against same-sex marriage is not "a hate position" or "anti-gay."

"The Church is only trying to defend marriage as an exclusive union between a man and a woman. Same-sex marriage contradicts the clear teaching of the Catholic Church on marriage and sexuality," said Castro, executive secretary of the CBCP's Commission on Family and Life.

He said gay marriage "goes against the basic purpose of marriage [which is] to produce children."

"No matter how proponents of same-sex union would put it, It would still upset humanity and society," Castro said.

Questioning decision

Ang Ladlad Chairperson Danton Remoto said the group's platform does not include pushing for same-sex marriage.

He said they are fighting for equal rights for LGBTs in schools and workplaces.

"The issue is not religious morality, we are fighting for human rights here," Remoto said.

Ang Ladlad filed a motion for reconsideration at the Comelec, questioning the agency's use of morality as a basis for junking their accreditation.

"The Comelec has no right to make decisions on morality because it is not a moral or religious institution. It is a political institution, and hence, should confine itself to politics," Remoto said in a previous interview.

The gay group said various rights organizations and advocates had supported their cause. Remoto, who plans to run for Senator in 2010, said they are willing to take the issue all the way to the Supreme Court.

The Comelec is set to meet en banc to decide on the group's motion for reconsideration. With a report from Jorge Cariño, ABS-CBN News.