SIN ACCUSED OF FANNING ANTI-GAY HATRED

Manila, Jan. 24, 2003 - Filipino homosexuals yesterday accused the Roman Catholic Church of fanning "anti-gay hatred" after they were excluded from an international conference on the role of families in Manila and branded as threats to Christian values.

In particular, Filipino gays are protesting a statement made by influential Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin that Christian family values were being eroded by advocates of same-sex marriages, divorce and modern media and technology.

Oscar Atadero, a spokesman for Progay Philippines, said Sin's attack on homosexuality was unwarranted, stressing that many members of "the third sex" are productive members of the Christian community.

Sin, speaking before the Fourth World Meeting of Families being held in Manila last Wednesday, said the basic family structure was being "put into question by proponents of same-sex marriages."

"It would have been only okay if they had only excluded us (from the meeting), but the Church cannot leave well enough alone and is attacking homosexuals as (being) against the family, which is not true," Atadero said.

"We don't have to toe the line of the Catholic Church, the Vatican is not the church," he added, and likened Christian gays to "Jesus outside the gates."

"Jesus was at first also excluded, before he was accepted," Atadero said.

Homosexuals are "not calling into question the existence of the family or staging a rebellion" but are merely asserting they should be given "the same love and legal rights that other children of God have," he added.

Sin's comment has effectively fanned "anti-gay hatred" in the Philippines, Asia's only bastion of Catholicism, Progay said in a statement.

Atadero stressed that gay men in Filipino society often play a vital role as "social security systems" for the poor urban families, with many holding steady jobs and contributing heavily to family finances. (Tribune)


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