MANILA, Philippines — Two homosexual men cannot marry but a gay man and a lesbian can tie the knot, according to the head of the Catholic Church’s matrimonial court.
Archbishop Oscar Cruz, judicial vicar of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines-National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal, all but ruled out any chance of the Catholic Church agreeing to same-sex unions in the Philippines but said a lesbian and gay man might be allowed to marry.
“May a lesbian marry a gay man? My answer is ‘yes’ because in that instance the capacity to consummate the union is there. The anatomy is there. The possibility of conception is there,” Cruz told a church forum on Tuesday.
“I ask this question to myself and I have thought about it for a long time and the answer is ‘yes’,” he said.
Cruz was explaining the Church’s opposition to gay marriage or same-sex civil unions.
Several European church leaders — including Godfried Cardinal Daneels, the former Archbishop of Mechelin-Brussels, and the Vatican spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi SJ — recently made statements that were seen as hinting of eventual Church approval for gay civil unions.
But Cruz said gay advocates would have a difficult job getting legal approval for gay civil unions in the Philippines, a predominantly Catholic country.
“That will be against the Constitution and against the Family Code of the Philippines. So, they have to revise the Constitution for that,” he said.
“The law says marriage is between a man and a woman and for raising a family,” he said.
Cruz said the Catholic Church would oppose gay civil unions and other related proposals if these were filed in Congress.
“For the Church, even if you turn it upside down and call it by another name, it would still not be marriage. For the Church, even if a hundred (judges) bless a same-sex wedding, it would still not be effective,” he said.
The Church earlier warned that after the passage of the controversial Reproductive Health Law, similar proposals for same-sex marriage, divorce and euthanasia would follow.
However, gay groups have denied actively pushing for gay marriage in the country. They accuse the Church of using the issue to block other gay civil rights legislation proposals.
“They always use that as a specter to block any other piece of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered) rights legislation,” said Jonas Bagas, executive director of the TLF Share Collective.
“So, even with the anti-discrimination bill, they would frame it as a gay marriage bill,” he said.
Cruz said homosexuality would be a valid ground for the annulment but has been seldom used as a reason in annulment petitions.
“More often, it’s is about psychological problems, meaning there is some kind of mental impairment or emotional disturbance,” he said.