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CBCP exec: US should respect PHL law regarding same-sex marriage

in PHILIPPINES, 20/12/2013

For Cecilia Gahuman, it was a wish come true. For the first time in almost 10 years, she can now meet her same-sex fiancé, Hawaii-based Filipino-American Maria Carla Antonio, face to face. Gahuman was among the two Filipinos who were granted fiancé visas by the US Embassy in Manila following a new US State policy allowing US citizens to petition their same-sex partners.

For Antonio, a member of the US Navy, the granting of the visa was the high point of their relationship. “All these years I didn't lose hope,” she said in the same interview.

This, however, did not sit well with the Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), with an official saying it could be regarded as a sign of the US' disrespect to the country's laws.

Gay marriage is still illegal in the Philippines, a highly Catholic country. The CBCP, which has condemned pastors who presided over same-sex marriages, said gay marriage violates the Family Code of the Philippines, which defines marriage as “a special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman.”

President Benigno Aquino III said last December 3 that he has reservations about changing this law. Since the next possible step of gay marriages is adoption by these couples, he said the reaction of these children need to be considered, pointing out that growing up in such an environment may “induce more confusion” to the adopted child.

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