Philippine Catholic Church stands firm against gay marriage

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Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community take part in a parade in Manila on December 13, 2014 (AFP Photo/Jay Directo)
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community take part in a parade in Manila on December 13, 2014 (AFP Photo/Jay Directo)

(AFP) The leadership of the Philippines’ dominant Roman Catholic church stressed its opposition to legalising gay marriage on Sunday despite last week’s landmark decision by the US Supreme Court.

The Philippine government meanwhile affirmed that under its law, marriage is still between a man and a woman and only an act of Congress can change this, unlike in the United States.

“The Church continues to maintain what it has always taught. Marriage is a permanent union of man and woman,” said Archbishop Socrates Villegas, the president of the influential Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.

“This is the way the Church has always read Sacred Scriptures. This is the way it has lived its faith, inspired by the Holy Spirit,” Villegas said in a statement on the group’s website.

“We will continue to teach the sons and daughters of the Church that marriage… is an indissoluble bond of man and woman,” he stressed.

However he also said that “the US Supreme Court decision will not go unheeded. We shall study it with assiduousness, and revisit our concepts and presuppositions.”

Last Friday’s US court decision has stirred interest in the socially conservative Philippines, the only country besides the Vatican that still outlaws divorce.

Church pressure delayed a law allowing for wider distribution of contraceptives for 15 years. It was finally passed in 2014 but abortion remains illegal.

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