By Steve Angeles ABS-CBN North America
LOS ANGELES, Calif–A common Christian prayer has always proclaimed that when two or more are gathered in God’s name, prayers are answered. At this non-denominational bible study in Los Angeles’ Los Feliz neighborhood, these Filipino Christians are praying for marriage equality.
“While we respect differences in terms of their opinions of gay marriage. Gay marriage really isn’t about a religious right its a human right and everybody is entitled to that so we are not pushing for the church to recognize it, not the Catholic Church not anything like that but as a human right,” explained active member Camille Araullo.
This is the Bayanihan bible study group at the Metropolitan Community Church. A little over a year old, most of its members are Filipino and part of the lesbian gay bisexual, and transgender community.
“It’s an opportunity to reach out to people who are looking for a place to be able to worship in their own skin and it’s very difficult for the LGBT Filipino community to do that in our churches so this an opportunity to do that in a safe environment where we can focus on worshiping and learning more about God,” said Araullo.
On Tuesday, the US Supreme Court heard arguments on Proposition 8, the voter approved same sex marriage ban in California. On Wednesday it heard arguments on the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which defines marriage between a man and a woman and the Baynihan Bible study group kept up with the developments.
“It’s (Prop 8) going to be overturned and I’m hoping the DOMA will be defeated also because I think that’s much more important than Prop 8 because when the defense of marriage act is repealed then everybody, in same sex marriage will also have all rights,” said Jun Mendoza, a member of LGBT support group Barangay LA, who is also active with the bible study.
Many Filipinos with Christ based religions cite the bible as proof that homosexuality is a sin.
A recent Balitang America Isyu Ngayon poll showed that 71% of Filipinos viewed same sex marriage as sinful.
“It is against the law of the church that’s why I don’t like it. Sabi sa bible yung mga Ina Hindi pwede na Samhain ng Tao ang Kapwa lalaki at Kapwa babae,” said Penny Villena, as she was exiting a nearby Catholic church.
John Suarez, who identifies himself as a gay Filipino practicing Catholic, looks at the bible differently. “For the longest time, the bible has been used against gay people but if you really read the words especially in the New Testament, Jesus never really said anything against or for same sex relationships.