TACLOBAN CITY-A mass wedding of same-sex couples is set to happen in the region despite the continued opposition of the predominantly Catholic Filipinos.
EnGAYged, a community of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders (LGBTs) has announced the registration for interested couples until July 3.
“The idea to have a mass wedding for same-sex in the region was made during our first visit in Tacloban City because I had wed a couple in Southern Leyte, which was the first in that place. The event should have been on June 17, but I requested it to me moved due to short preparation. July 15 is the date that I will be available (for the mass wedding),” said Rev. Crescencio Agbayani Jr., the union celebrant and founding pastor of LGBTS Christian Church Inc. based in Quezon City since 2012.
While the government has yet to recognize the right of LGBT couples to civil marriage, Agbayani said that they remain “very positive” on the outcome of the oral argument of the Supreme Court over the marriage equality in the Philippines on June 19.
“If we’ll be lost, then will start again. We’re not going to give up until we’ll achieve the same legal rights as any other couple. LGBT couples are family, too,” Agbayani said in an interview.
He added that they “need security and peace of mind that our partners for life are also our partners under the law.”
“We are Filipinos who pay taxes and serve our country too. We deserve to have our relationship as a family legally recognized,” Agbayani said.
Having educated at the Union Theological Seminary in Cavite with Master of Divinity in Christianity and Culture and awarded the Bishop La Verne Mercado Award in Ecumenics, Agbayani has been conducting same sex holy union wedding rite in Quezon City and some parts in the Philippines and in Asia.
As this developed, Palo Archdiocese priest Virgilio Cañete said that our society has been ‘tolerant enough’ over the issue on the same sex marriage.
“Such unions are everywhere, and no one in this tolerant times can prevent such same sex unions. But making a law for this, is no longer part of being tolerant but promotes beyond what is needed, at the expense of social conventions, our culture, and faith,” Cañete said.
He stressed that under the Church’s doctrine, marriage is between a man and a woman and not of the same sex.
“Same sex marriage is not legal here in the Philippines, right? Or at least, not yet, and I rue the day when it will be,” added Msgr. Ramon Aguilos of the Palo Archdiocese said.
“So, whether the mass wedding of same sex marriage be held in Eastern Visayas region or elsewhere in the archipelago or anywhere in the world or in the universe, I have the same answer,” he said.
Interestingly, the news on the upcoming mass wedding of same-sex couples didn’t also bode well with other LGBT couples.
“It has never crossed into my mind that I’ll tie the knot with my partner because I always think that every relationship has its ending. Even those of straight couples and partners, they are prone to separation,” Wendell Astrero said.
The 41-year old openly gay man is living with his 21-year old partner for five years now.
He, however, maintained that his opposition has nothing to do with the strong Catholic faith in his place but more of a personal choice.