Since 1991, the Metropolitan Community Church Philippines has officiated what it calls holy unions of same-sex couples who want sacred sanction of their commitment to their relationship.
Not a different reason from the more common heterosexual church marriages, it would seem. But when same-sex couples were joined in holy union in Baguio City a few days ago, a Catholic bishop said on television that they were “abnormal” and had “mental problems” and that the government should declare same-sex marriages as illegal.
Now the very concepts of “normality” and “legality” are slippery slopes, with shifting definitions depending on who is doing the defining, and they have historically led to some really bad things.
Remember when women were less than normal human beings who were irrational, emotional, and therefore, could not be allowed to vote?
There used to be laws against “miscegenation”, defining “abnormality” as mixed race relationships in many US states until 1967. This mostly-declared cohabitation, sex and marriage between whites and blacks as immoral and illegal, but note that Arizona, California, Maryland, Nevada, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming also illegalized relations between whites and Filipinos!
Nazi Germany, of course, could not tolerate the pollution of the Aryan master race by non-Aryan spouses, and apartheid South Africa had a law prohibiting mixed marriages, as well as an Immorality Law against sexual relations between whites and blacks.
The good bishop, therefore, draws on a long ideological and political tradition of laying down the law about who one can love and wish to spend a life with.
Archbishop Oscar Cruz brings “nature itself” into the argument with its “stipulations” on male and female roles, procreation and the rearing of children, as supposed evidence of the “un-naturalness” of same sex relationships.
Well, the natural sciences will have news for him, for nature does not hew to one pattern of things in its infinite richness.
There is parthenogenesis, asexual female reproduction without fertilization, and animal species where primary or even sole parenting is a male role, yes, among mammals, too.
And what about this amusing story: the female seahorse courts the male, then as a monogamous pair, they conduct mating rituals with the female finally depositing eggs in the male’s pouch. He fertilizes them and over a few weeks, his belly swells until the moment of birth when he releases his brood. The young are immediately able to fend for themselves.
Humans are not seahorses? We all share the same building blocks that the universe is made of, we are of one and the same creation.The social sciences, too, have much to tell us about how human beings have, through the ages, been drawn to each other, heterosexually or homosexually, for human life, too, should be rich in possibilities and expression.
Two people love and commit to each other; they wish the blessing of a church, and the recognition of their union by the state. They should have respect and support, not insults and threats.
And by the way, in what way is the exclusion of women from the priesthood, and the celibacy of priests “normal” and “natural?”