by Mark Pere Madrona
The constitution guarantees the right to free speech, at all times and in whatever medium available. However, as a popular journalism adage goes, “comment is free but facts are sacred.” Everyone can throw his or her two cents worth on anything, but does not exempt anyone from the need to base his or her views on solid arguments. This is especially true for opinion writers.
Last July 20 2011, Filipino priest Bel San Luis wrote an opinion piece for the Manila Bulletin titled “Making a Mockery of Marriage.” He criticized both the recent approval of same-sex marriages in New York, United States and the holy unions administered for same-sex couples by Metropolitan Community Church in Baguio City. While it is understandable for San Luis to be hostile toward the LGBT community because of his religious affiliation, the arguments he raised are off point.
He tells of two “stories” to prove that the approval of “such outlandish laws” like gay marriages will lead to “to a lot of abnormal possibilities in the name of freedom and human rights.” First, there’s the tale of two male siblings (Tim and Jim Jones) who wanted to marry not only because they love each other but for the financial benefits as well (and also because they have “no other prospects.”) The second one, a certain David Deets, wanted to marry himself as he claims he has dual personality.
These are fiction stories, obviously, but San Luis failed to adequately present it as such. One can only wonder where he really got those tales. Instead of raising valid points as to how gay marriages adversely affects his civil liberties and other’s right to marry the one they love, he relates the former to incest. Fr. Bel, I have a question for you: what has incest got to do with gay marriages? He’s speaking as if only homosexuals are involved in incestuous relationships, when in fact; heterosexuals are the ones who engage in it more often.
He also implies that gays want to marry because of financial benefits. What about people who enter into fixed marriages primarily to protect their families’ business interests? What about those who marry foreign nationals (e.g. Americans) only to have a path toward citizenship? Isn’t this a blatant mockery of marriage, Father Bel? It seems to me that the good priest, like many others in the Catholic hierarchy, preach how loving God is to everyone on one hand, while promoting hatred toward LGBTs on the other. They probably have dual personality like David Deets!
Before criticizing the holy unions administered by MCC Baguio, Father Bel should have verified his facts first. He may not be journalist by training, but as an opinion writer, he has that responsibility to his readers. Before claiming that MCC leaders are “liable to be prosecuted before the court for doing something illegal,” he should understand that the holy unions are NOT marriages. I’ve written about MCC before, and I have learned that a holy union is the spiritual joining of two people of the same sex. These ceremonies are not legally binding (not necessarily illegal), and no one within MCC claims otherwise.
Fr. San Luis’ article can be accessed at http://www.mb.com.ph/node/327540/making-a-mockery-marriage. Please take note that I am a registered Catholic, and that I am not member of MCC or any LGBT organizations for that matter. He did not provide any contact details in his column, which makes it impossible for concerned citizens like me to send our reactions to him personally. Feel free to disseminate this. 🙂
About the writer: http://rightonthemark.wordpress.com/about
“The Approval of Same-Sex Marriages in New York is one of the Legacies of the 1969 Stonewall Riots” – http://rightonthemark.wordpress.com/2011/06/30/the-approval-of-gay-marriages-in-new-york-is-one-of-the-legacies-of-the-1969-stonewall-riots/
MCC Quezon City’s Rev. Ceejay Agbayani’s thoughts on the Bible, LGBT rights, and same-sex marriages: http://rightonthemark.wordpress.com/2011/07/17/rev-ceejay-agbayani%E2%80%99s-thoughts-on-the-bible-lgbt-rights-and-same-sex-marriages/