BAGUIO CITY — In a bold move to assert their right to love and enter into a relationship, some ten (10) same-sex lovers exchanged “I do’s” in a wedding ceremony here officiated over by the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) yesterday, June 25.
The union celebration coincides with the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) world-wide commemoration of Pride month and Baguio’s fifth LGBT Pride Parade today spearheaded by the Baguio Pride Network (BPN).
The BPN is a coalition of six LGBT organizations and advocates.
Ptr. Myke Sotero pastoral leader of the MCC in Metro Baguio said that while many sexual minorities enter into loving and committed relationships, their love continues to be demonized and condemned by many mainstream churches.
“This is a celebration of their love which is not immoral. We offer a safe haven for LGBTs where they can build a relationship with God and live the way they are without fear of discrimination. We want the world to know that love is a human right and not just a heterosexual privilege,” Sotero said.
Dolly (not her real name) a transgender woman, said that she never thought her boyfriend for a year now, would ask her to marry him. “Di ko inakala na darating ang araw na ikakasal ako sa taong mahal ko. Di man ito kilalanin ng batas, very liberating malaman na hindi pala mapanghusga ang Diyos sa mga kagaya namin,” she added.
Rev. Ceejay Agbayani, head pastor of MCC Quezon City said that the MCC has been conducting same-sex holy unions since its establishment here in the Philippines in 1991 by Fr. Richard Mickley.
Agbayani added that many LGBTs found new meaning in their lives after attending MCC worship services because majority of mainstream churches exclude LGBTs and has condemned them as sinners.
However, many new Christian churches are starting to open their doors to LGBTs like the Order of St. Aelred (OSAe), Christian United Church (CUC), Catholic Diocese of One Spirit (CDOS), and the Universalist Unitarian Church (UUC).
Ptr. Edgar Constantino of MCC Makati, maintains that though there are no laws in the country yet that recognizes marriage equality, the MCC’s sacramental rite of holy union is not illegal.
He said that this church sacrament is in harmony with the belief that love is the greatest commandment and God’s love is inclusive and unconditional.
“Holy union rites are given to LGBT couples who wish to profess their love and fidelity to one another before God and the community, and the constitution provides a clear provision on religious freedom and separation of church and state” he added. # BPN Release