February 20, 2004

Opinion

The 78th State Assembly Candidates and Same-Sex Marriage

By Romeo P. Marquez

This Primary Election on March 2 among candidates for the 78th Assembly District has caught my attention because of one outstanding issue that impacts our Filipino culture and our Catholic religion we share with our Hispanic neighbors. I refer to that ticklish question of same-sex marriage, which is to say, the matrimonial union of man with man and woman with woman.

I have always held the belief, which I think is the popular one, that marriage is between the male and female of the species forming a marital bond solely for the purpose of procreation. What comes with the marriage are the perks associated with domestic bliss, like, for example, sharing of wealth, partaking of each other’s benefits through government or private entities, etc.

In many states as in California and the Philippines, married couples, that is to say, man and woman, enjoy certain privileges a single person does not. Part of the reason is to encourage and strengthen families, safeguard the rights of couples and protect their offsprings. The family, after all, is the basic political unit in any society.

Any attempt to subvert marriage may be considered an attack on the very institution that we all wish to propagate through eternity.

Comes now the concept of same-sex marriage. Despite the recent ruling by the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts sanctioning same-sex marriage, I still am a firm believer in what has become the marital tradition since the evolution of man.

I fear the Massachusetts ruling would embolden two of the three candidates for the 78th State Assembly, namely, Arlie Ricasa-Bagaporo and Patty Davis, who both embrace same-sex marriage as if it’s the sole key to happiness. Another candidate, Dr. Maxine Sherard, is vehemently against it, understandably so because of her conservative family upbringing and religious orientation.

Were I to choose today the candidate to represent the Filipino interests (meaning my culture and my religious beliefs), and to a large extent, the Hispanics’, I would pick Dr. Sherard without the slightest hesitation. I do not mean this to be a brief against Arlie Ricasa-Bagaporo and Patty Davis, but their belief that same sex couples should have the right to enter into civil marriage does not square off with me, period.

My Catholic faith has taught me that marriage can only be had between a man and a woman and never with one’s own gender relations.

The Filipino in me tells me the moral bankruptcy of those who want to propagate a man-to-man, woman-to-woman marriage just so they would win the support of a fraction of the voting population.

Don’t get me wrong here. I am for tolerance and that tolerance goes for our gay and lesbian community. We can bless their relationship through civil union but sanctify it through marriage? That’s a big no no to me!

On the other hand, the Filipino in me tells me to support Arlie Ricasa-Bagaporo for she is of our Filipino roots. If I were not a thinking voter and were just Filipino, I may vote for her.

That Arlie Ricasa-Bagaporo, a wife and mother and sister to many siblings, believes in same-sex marriage is, to me, outrageous, to say it mildly. I know it is her belief, and I suppose, her well-considered opinion. My take is that is if she fully and truly believes in it, then she must face the consequences of having to make that decision.

Romeo Marquez is editor of the San Diego Filipino community newspaper, The Philippine Village Voice. He can be reached at PhilVoiceNews@aol.com.

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