Even at a time when some church leaders are expressing a new openness to LGBTQ equality, other Catholic leaders continue to oppose legislation that would grant equal rights to LGBTQ people. Today’s message presents three examples of this opposition.
The Archdiocese of Singapore has joined other religious groups in opposing the repeal of the national law that criminalizes homosexuality, known as Section 377A of the Penal Code. However, the archdiocese supported the non-enforcement of the law to eliminate prosecutions related to same-sex sexual acts. The time of the straits reported:
“Any changes to Section 377A would result in adjustments to national policies relating to marriage, family, children, education, media, housing, etc. [Alliance of Pentecostal & Charismatic Churches in Singapore ] said, and warned that if the family unit was undermined it would “lead to a series of ripple effects”, including the erosion of societal strength and resilience.
“The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore, meanwhile, said: ‘We are fortunate to have a government that places stability and harmony in our multi-religious and multi-racial society above any sectarian interests. ‘
“He added that the Catholic Church does not tolerate the marginalization of those who do not subscribe to its values, including the LGBT+ community.
“”Similarly, we ask those who do not subscribe to our values to also respect our right to exercise our religious beliefs without fear or favor,” the Archdiocese said.
Questions about Section 377A arose after an appeals court ruled last month that the law was “unenforceable in its entirety” even if it remains law, reports The time of the straits. Activists have been calling for the repeal of Section 377A since 2007. It wasn’t until 2018 that the country’s attorney general said it would be government policy not to prosecute private sex.
Bishop Dode Gjergii of Prizern has joined a multi-faith statement to oppose a civil marriage equality bill due to be discussed by the national parliament. Overview of the Balkans reported on the statement, which was also signed by Muslim, Jewish and Evangelical Christian leaders:
“‘Faith communities stand united when it comes to the daily protection and promotion of family values, pro-life values, traditional marriage values, the right of the fetus from conception to birth, and the right natural to gender as predetermination for every citizen,” reads the joint statement.
“Kosovo law does not currently allow same-sex marriages. The constitution, on the other hand, recognizes that “on the basis of free consent, everyone enjoys the right to marry and the right to found a family according to law”.
“The new draft civil code states that ‘registered civil unions between persons of the same sex are permitted’.”
Kosovo is nearly 90% Muslim. Despite objections from religious leaders, both ruling and opposition parties have indicated support for some legal recognition of same-sex couples.
In Nebraska, Bishop James Conley of Lincoln wrote a column in the diocesan newspaper, Southern Nebraska Registryin which he voiced his opposition to a proposed LGBTQ non-discrimination ordinance.
Using the phrase “love the sinner but hate the sin,” Conley opposed the Lincoln City Council’s passage of equity ordinance updates that would make sexual orientation and l gender identity protected. He then encouraged Catholics to stop it lest such non-discrimination spread, writing:
“While City Council has passed this ordinance, we still have an important opportunity to raise our voices and end this policy. The Nebraska Family Alliance has filed a referendum petition opposing the city’s ordinance. If enough signatures are collected (4,137 signatures), this will prevent the ordinance from being enacted. The city council can then either repeal the ordinance or let the voters decide whether it should go into effect. I encourage all those of us who are eligible to sign the petition…If a bad policy like the equity ordinance is enacted in the city of Lincoln, it is likely that politicians in other municipalities in Nebraska will seek to impose similar orders.
Even though some church leaders continue to support policies that criminalize and discriminate against LGBTQ people, in the past year hundreds of theologians and Catholic leaders have affirmed the idea that LGBTQ non-discrimination is entirely within tradition. Catholic and even demanded by it. You can read their ideas in the New Ways Ministry statement “A Home for All”,
—Robert Shine (he/him), New Ways Ministry, March 9, 2022