In a few hours, I’ll be attending the wedding of a co-worker in Dasmariñas. With my usual approach to these events, it took me some time to decide on what gift I should be giving to the couple and what outfit I will be wearing when I attend the ceremony.
I thought it’s also fitting to write about another wedding mentioned in the news in the last few days.
Last week, several same-sex couples exchanged wedding vows in Baguio in a mass wedding officiated by the Metropolitan Community Church of Metro Baguio. Same-sex marriage is not legal in the Philippines. The wedding is a ceremony celebrating the couple’s love for each other, and is not presented as a legally-recognized union.
I find ceremonies like these sweet. I applaud the Metropolitan Community Church’s efforts to provide same-sex couples the chance to experience a public celebration of love and commitment that is otherwise reserved only for heterosexual couples in this country.
While the cynical part of me thinks “what’s the point, though?” when I consider the fact that these couple will not get the same privileges of legally wed couples, the more optimistic part of me thinks that seeing same-sex couples getting married will show Filipinos that same-sex weddings aren’t at all different from “normal” heterosexual weddings.
Predictably, the negative reactions to the mass wedding came a few days later. The unsurprising reaction from the Catholic Church condemned the event as an “anomaly“. The local social media was abuzz with talk after Bishop Ted Bacani was quoted to describe the weddings as “kadiri” (disgusting):
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) earlier tagged the weddings as an insult to the Roman Catholic Church.
Bacani described the weddings as, “Napangitan ako talaga, kadiri, para tayong gaya gaya puto maya. Laban ito sa salita ng Diyos.”
Bacani added that people who would be invited to future same sex marriages should not attend.
“Dapat i-boycott iyan at hindi na dapat magpunta ang mga iimbitahan. It is not right for people to participate, against moral grounds,” he said.
It’s disappointing to hear a popular Church leader give out statements so lacking in tact and gravity. It is expected that the good Bishop will be against the ceremony, but his choice of words does not befit his supposedly respectable position.
Rev. Ceejay Agbayani of the MCC gave a succinct comeback to Bacani: “Walang kadiri sa pagmamahal.”
That was a wonderful reply that could be used as a slogan in the demand for the equal rites of the LGBT community.
Some time later, the local clergy was set with a different controversy after it was revealed how several bishops and a priest were given luxury sports utility vehicles by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
Talk about irony. If God exists, He has a really wickedly vindictive sense of humor. To quote Alec Mapa: God must be gay.
While the Church reaction was totally expected (if a bit colorful, thanks to the good bishop), the reaction from the Baguio city council was disheartening:
The city council will investigate the wedding ceremony on Monday and identify those who took part in it, according to Councilor Richard Cariño.
The results of the probe will determine if those who got married will be declared persona non grata, he added.
“Ang basis natin para gawing persona non grata ang isang tao ay kung may nilabag silang batas, sagabal sila, kontra sa prinsipyo at ordinansa at oppressive ang kanilang ginawa o ginagawa sa paningin ng mga tao,” Cariño said. “Kaya we have to investigate kung yung ginawang pagpapakasal ay oppressive sa community ng Baguio.”
Richard Cariño obviously isn’t thinking beyond his narrow, conservative box.
He shouldn’t put a stop to same-sex weddings in Baguio; he should encourage it. Think of the benefits to tourism: they could promote Baguio as an ideal destination for LGBT tourists (as if it isn’t already) because it is a city of tolerant and open-minded people.
While I will leave it to lawyers to decide if the wedding was against the law (MCC does not make claims that the same-sex weddings they perform in the country is legally recognized), I don’t see how the wedding was contrary to the public good or is oppressive to anyone in Baguio. It seemed like a solemn and happy occasion to all those who attended.
My mother had already mentioned in passing how she expects me to settle down soon, and some of the neighbors from my old neighborhood assumed that I’ve already married and moved somewhere else.
Of course, in many ways, I am settled down. And I kind of see myself as already married (happily) to someone, even though I suspect I’m not the marrying type. It’s merely trivial how that other person is also a guy.