Today in San Francisco is the annual SF Gay Pride Parade. San Francisco is one of the largest cities around the world with a long history that impacted society in general, not just towards the LGBT community. One of the famous ones, of course, was the election of the enigmatic Harvey Milk, who was the first openly gay candidate to win a seat in the San Francisco Board of Supervisors back in the 1970s.1 The LGBTs have plenty of reasons to celebrate victoriously, especially that the Supreme Court had ruled the DOMA2 and the (in)famous California Proposition 8.3
Let’s back up a little bit and start contemplating on two things: marriage and spouse. By general definition, a marriage is a social union or some kind of a legal contract between people called spouses. And then, by general definition, a spouse is a partner in a marriage, and by general knowledge, a spouse is gender neutral. There are other different terms that are similar as marriage: domestic partnership, civil union, or common law marriage. They have similar aspects but apply to different types of individuals in every culture, origin, background, or region they belong to. But then again, in the beginning I always thought that marriage and domestic partnership meant the same thing, except that domestic partnership applies to same-sex couples. Then again, I am a happy and content single, straight woman who had two gay men as her “yayas” back in the Philippines for 3 years of her childhood who didn’t have a clue on what it means to be straight or gay. The only thing I knew back then was to learn how to appreciate and love people regardless of how different they may be.
So, my thoughts regarding the (re-)legalization of gay marriages here in California. First thing that came to mind was “Why did it take 30-40+ years for society to realize that the LGBTs are as human as everyone else around the world?” When the fight for civil rights and equality among all races became prominent in the mid-’50s and then finally passing equal rights for all Americans of all colors and backgrounds, it only took them about 10 years or so (late-’60s). The human mind sure is rather complicated. We all want one thing and we don’t want another. I didn’t understand why Prop. 8 was needed in the first place when gay marriages were already legal in California prior to Prop 8. I thought Prop 8 was a waste of time, waste of money, and overall unconstitutional. “All men are created equal,” supposedly, right?
Being a practicing Catholic, I’m tracking back to the childhood days where I attended a Catholic-affiliated Montessori school and then enrolled in CCD classes4 when my family and I immigrated here from the Philippines. Totaling all those years of being educated to be a full-pledged Catholic, not a single day that my teachers mentioned anything about homosexuality. When I can I read the Bible5)
I did read the entire Chapter 18 of the Book of Leviticus under the subtitle of Forbidden Sexual Practices. Chapter 18 verse 22 states the following:
No man is to have sexual relations with another man; God hates that.
– Leviticus 18:22
Even if that was stated in the Old Testament of the Bible, there’s no repeated mention of the same verse at all the other books, most especially in the New Testament. I learned that in Roman Catholicism, we don’t really focus much on the Old Testament books and a lot of what was written in the Old Testament had been amended or not reminded in the New Testament. There was no mention anywhere that Jesus was against homosexuality in the first place. Going back to the Book of Leviticus, it was also mentioned that polygamy was also legitimate6 as it was an old practice of Judaism back then. Ever wonder why Christianity has so many divisions today?7 It’s because they had different interpretations towards the Bible, and if you also think about it, we don’t know (as Christians) in general if the translation of the Bible we have in hand is the actual direct translation from the original language, Aramaic/Hebrew.
Going back to the issue of gay marriages, we also have to keep in mind that not all gays are Christian. Many of them practice different types of religions— or none at all. America was founded by our forefathers that has religious freedom as one of the strong reasons, and on top of that, the separation of church and state that gives the basic understanding behind the First Amendment of our Bill of Rights. We have our highly-regarded U.S. Constitution in which many other countries have adapted them.8 But even with the Constitution in effect for many centuries, there are a lot of people who are staunch bigots and hypocrites when it comes to basic general civil rights. Racism is one thing. Sexual orientation is another.
I wanted to direct this portion to a number of my “friends” in my FB account from the Philippines who are now bashing my country of becoming “a country of the antichrist” simply because same-sex marriages are legal (in California) again. Seriously, you don’t live in America. Your government is still being ruled by religion, which is why you all act like a bunch of bigots, ignorants, and hypocrites. And second, don’t ever compare America to the Philippines because they are not the same country. Anything that happens to my country doesn’t apply to you, and if I were you, I’d worry more about the ongoing centuries-old problems in your country, such as poverty and political corruption instead of butting in your noses in to other places you know nothing about.
To conclude, may you enjoy your PRIDE weekend and congratulations for another victory won. This isn’t just an LGBT issue, but this is a basic human rights issue.
On the sidenote...
- Too long to explain. Better if you watch the movie “Milk” starring Sean Penn, James Franco, and Emile Hirsch to get to know about this inspiring individual. [↩]
- Defense of Marriage Act. Look it up for more information. [↩]
- a 2008 proposition that was passed that eliminates the legalization of gay marriages in California. I may be a devout Catholic but I prioritize myself as a Californian first. I voted “no” on this proposition. [↩]
- “Sunday school” for Roman Catholics although majority of my CCD classes were on Saturdays [↩]
- The Holy Bible with Deuterocanonicals/Apocrypha in Today’s Edition. Received this in my Confirmation class back in 1991. The abbreviation for this is the GNBDC (Good news Bible with Deuterocanonicals and Apocrypha [↩]
- It’s probably one of the basis that the Mormons back in the early days practiced polygamy. [↩]
- and as far as I know, Christianity is still slowly dividing in to different sects. [↩]
- Philippines included— surprise? [↩]