Same-sex mass wedding shocks bishop

BAGUIO CITY -- Diocese of Baguio-Benguet Bishop Carlito Cenzon has criticized a local Christian church's plan to hold a same-sex mass wedding on June 25 in Baguio City.

The Metropolitan Community Church of Metro Baguio (MCC-Metro Baguio) recently announced the schedule of its free same-sex mass wedding in a still undisclosed location in the city.

MCC-Metro Baguio is composed mostly of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) members and their families.

Rev. Myke Sotero, who leads the local chapter of MCC-Metro Baguio, said more than seven gay and lesbian couples will exchange vows on Saturday.

Sotero is also expecting more couples to join as other chapters of MCC in Quezon City and other parts of the country have also accepted applicants to join the holy union.

But Cenzon said, "Same-sex wedding is wrong and cannot be called a holy union. Naawa tayo sa kanila kasi nagmamahalan sila pero hindi sila pwedeng ikasal. (We pity them, they love each other but they cannot be wed.)"

"Wedding should involve only a woman and a man," the bishop added.

The bishop said a same-sex holy union is an insult to the Roman Catholic Church, adding that local officials should not support activities like this.

But Cenzon said the Church is not discriminating the LGBT community.

However, organizers of the mass wedding insisted that everyone is free to love and God does not discriminate.

Countries that have so far allowed lesbian and gay weddings are Spain, Argentina, Australia, Norway and other Western countries.

The mass wedding on Saturday, dubbed "Kalayaang Umibig, Pag-ibig sa Kalayaan," is one of the highlights of the Baguio Pride Month celebrations.

The LGBT community is also pushing for the passage of the Anti-Discrimination Bill pending in the Housing of Representatives, which is authored by Representative Teddy Casiño.

Casiño will also join in the LGBT parade on Saturday, together with LGBT communities, families and friends from nearby provinces. (Sun.Star Baguio) For more local stories, visit www.sunstar.com.ph