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This Filipino pastor officiates LGBTQ weddings as he waits for progress in the church

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Reverend Crescencio Agbayani Jr. set up the LGBTS Christian Church in the Philippines where he officiates gay weddings.
Reverend Crescencio Agbayani Jr. set up the LGBTS Christian Church in the Philippines where he officiates gay weddings.

In a staunchly Catholic country where gay marriages are not recognized by the government, a gay Protestant pastor has set up his own church just to officiate LGBT and same-sex weddings.

45-year-old Reverend Crescencio Agbayani Jr. ministers to his congregation from the LGBTS Christian Church, a tiny building in the Filipino province of Rizal which proudly raises the Pride flag on its gate.

He has so far performed over 1400 holy unions for LGBT couples.

Agbayani creates an affirming environment for his LGBT congregants. "I always tell them, it's OK to be gay, it's OK to be LGBT... being gay is not bad and you are accepted here," he said in Tagalog.

The pastor has received criticism for his progressive ministry. "Sometimes they call me names like Satan... son of Satan... They say that I'm a demon. I don't pay attention to them, because if I do that, I lose!" said Agbayani. "I don't understand why people judge me. I'm not doing anything wrong and they should know that only God can judge me."

Agbayani has hope that churches will change, but acknowledged that it takes time. "Will traditional churches change? Yes, they will and they need to, whether they like it or not... the old people should listen to the youth and realise that the world is changing. Let's open our minds and not just stick to the old traditions. There's nothing permanent in this world."

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