Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Eggplants, Peanuts and Same-Sex Marriage

A cyberspace friend named Nelia Angeles pos(t)ed a timely topic at Facebook : “What is your opinion on same-sex marriage?”. I am one of the early birds who posted a comment and I said that this presently hot issue in the Philippines boils down to our individual and collective concept of what a family and a marriage are.

Last night, TV Patrol, an ABS-CBN Channel 2 news program featured a story from its bureau in the US about the legalization of gay marriage in New York City thus becoming the sixth state in said country to do so. Here at home last Sunday, eight pairs of lesbian and gays tied knots in Baguio City. The ceremony was held by a Metropolitan Community Church, which is obviously one of the Protestant churches in the country, insisted that the wedding was legal. Also on that same day but in another forum, the Baguio Pride Network, lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) group, celebrated its anniversary by holding a protest action and demanding equal rights. The group of militant LGBT also called on the government to stop the killings of their members in the whole country. The group likewise claimed that 104 LGBTs have been killed from January to June only of this year. (I just do not know if the two cases of the recent killings of gay people here in San Jose are included in their list) Sadly (?), also last June 27 when those lesbians and gays exchanged “I do’s” in the Summer Capital of the Philippines, my wife and I celebrated our 19th Wedding Anniversary!

Nonetheless, Bayan Muna Rep. Teodoro Casiño came to support the Baguio Pride Network and said that his priority right now is to push for the passage of his anti-discrimination bill instead of passing a resolution making same-sex marriage in the country legal. I completely agree with Rep. Casiño’s prioritization of his current bills. To emphasize, I am for the basic rights of our LGBT brothers and sisters but against any move for the legalization of same-sex marriage. Call me a hypocrite if you wish but for me, assering for it is "over" already. By the way, under our present legal system, we cannot marry same-sex couples without revising our New Family Code. Told you, this issue goes down to cultural, social, legal and political realities and orders concerning marriage and family in our present context and what our faith and the law say about the essential public purpose of marriage. Our laws and our faith are one in saying that marriage is a natural institution where a man and a woman give themselves to each other exclusively for life in a sexual relationship that is open to procreation. It is publicly recognized, honored and supported because of its unique capacity to generate new human life and to meet children’s deepest needs for the love and attachment of both their father and their mother.

Addressing the Minnesota House of Representatives in May 2010, Dr Jennifer Roback Morse said, “Same sex marriage redefines marriage. Redefining marriage redefines parenthood. Redefining marriage affects the balance of power between the state and civil society”. Saying "yes" to same-sex marriage means major revision of the Family Code would end to redefinition of marriage from the “union of a man and a woman” to “the union of any two persons”. It consequently turns into garbage the “golden” law of marriage changes the law for every for everyone. Redefining marriage is a radical, if not moronic, social experiment or adventurism. Redefinition of marriage is no doubt a subtle attack on the family.

I do not mind at all if same-sex individuals live together as a couple. All of us, gay or straight, have no business in minding what other people, including LGBTs, do as long as they are done in private. Any loving couple can rightly claim that every sexual acts that they do - like anal sex, oral sex, heterosexual intercourse, or even if they practice BDSM or any sexual position they prefer - is also an expression of love whether they are straight or not. The Church has no reason to force them to stop such “expression of love” but just to give precautions and reminders that we can all disobey if prefer to do so. And at the same time our religious leaders will not discriminate the LGBTs in any way in public especially when they are doing their religious functions or receiving the sacraments. Again, our priests and pastors will not intervene in any way in our private affairs on such “caring” practices or sexual relationships with our partners. But when it comes to marriage, it’s different. It is because of marriage’s permanence, its natural orientation to life, and the way it brings together and expresses the fullness of humanity in male and female.

Changing the definition of family and to jettison the elements of male and female will profoundly change us as a nation constantly giving high importance to our rich culture. There is unique, divine and beautiful about these gifts (being a woman and a man) we receive from God. We are all created with a purpose as a man and woman, despite our physical, emotional and spiritual brokenness. Allowing same-sex marriages would involve a radical change in our definition of marriage itself, from life-giving and sexually complementary union to a personal, romantic relationship where there is no genuine communion or connection to procreation.

Just few days from now I am sure, media will be prioritizing news on same-sex marriage and the issue will again dominate the halls of our legislative branches. That’s for sure after that news we all watched last night somehow emphasizing that we are lagged behind as a nation because we do not have such a law.

But I believe no social institution- whether party-list groups and the rest of the legislators, the faith community, or any instrumentalities in our society- have no power to change what marriage and family are. Even if they alter the definition, it cannot change the reality.

A same-sex union cannot be a marriage. Planting a combination of certain variety of eggplants and peanuts cannot produce a flower garden….

(Photo : mccbaguio)

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