Saturday, May 15, 2010

Argentina: Catholic priest backs marriage rights for same-sex couples

A Roman Catholic priest from the city of Mendoza in Argentina, who has a weekly segment on local television on issues related to religion, has used his televised spot to back marriage rights for same-sex couples.

On Sunday, May 9th, Reverend Vicente Reale began his segment by telling viewers that the topic at hand was something he felt almost forced to address considering all the questions raised around the country on the issue of same-sex marriage (Argentina's House of Deputies passed a marriage equality bill on the early morning of May 5th, it is expected that the Senate will take up debate of the bill in July; President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has vowed to sign the bill into law if the Senate approves it, which would make Argentina the first country in Latin America to approve same-sex marriage).

He first spoke about having lesbian and gay friends and vouchered for our humanity.  He then said that many of us lived as couples and, as such, he had no problem with the recognition of our partnerships "because it is now a fact, and it's a fact that cannot be hidden."

He then mentioned that, while he had his own Christian convictions, he did not want to impose them on everyone. He argued that the marriage bill that made its way through the House and is now headed to the Senate was a "civil" law that would regulate something that already existed in civil society and that the law would "allow" same-sex partnerships, not "force" them upon everyone.

Finally, he said that the only "problem" he had with the law was the language allowing gays to adopt children but then clarified himself and said that it was a "question" he had based on not having seen any studies on the impact of child-rearing by gay couples.

Reverend Reale's comments drew an immediate repudiation from the leader of the Archdioceses of Mendoza, Marcelo de Benedictis, who, in true doublespeak, said that everyone had a right to their opinions but quickly reminded Rev. Reale that it was imperative that he "defend the beliefs of the Church".

Below, a YouTube video I've uploaded and annotated with my own translation as well as a full transcript of the Reverend's televised commentary...

Reverend Vicente Reale: Good day, friends, good week - truly - for everyone. Obviously my commentary today is almost a requirement considering the many questions that you, I, and so many people have raised regarding the partial backing given to the law between homosexual partners.A few tiny points, because this requires a longer conversation, but a few points I want to leave as my opinion and, perhaps, it will be helpful in eliciting some reflection.

First: I have many homosexual male and female friends with whom I enjoy a friendship and they are truly great people work-wise and human-wise. As a result, in that sense, I do not have any problems with accepting them in my life or in the general society. I also have no problem in the sense that they be recognized - because it is already a fact, and it's a fact that cannot be hidden - that they can live together - because they, in fact, already live together - but that it be recognized as, let's say, as a right, that a law recognizes them as such, and I'm talking about homosexual unions up to this point, I do not have any problems.

I do have, of course, a Christian conviction as many others will have other "x" religious, ethic or moral convictions, which, let's say, it seems to me that the issue should be framed in another way, but I respect that this exists and I respect that they have the rights. I say once again, this seems important to me, I don't want to impose my own on everyone else, particularly because here we have the issue of civil society on the table, a civil society in which we live, plus the difference of many years or centuries ago, it's a pluralist society, with many options, with many opinions. There are things that happen which we could like or not like, but that at some point we have to engage them and say 'what can we do about this'. Eh?

And so, civil society and civil authority, I believe, have to legislate. And then the believer might say 'No, this is something I won't do' because these are not laws - just like the civil divorce law - these are not imposed laws, these are laws that allow something, that 'allow', not that 'force' something, eh? Hence, he who says 'I'm not with this', well, don't do it! There is no third-party damage, let's put it that way, eh? So - civil society regulates this and gives the option. Up to this point I, sincerely, don't have any problem.

The only problem I have with what has been included with this law, it is the possibility to adopt. I say 'problem' but, in reality, I should say 'great question'. Great question. I say it sincerely, because I don't know what might happen. You will say there are heterosexual families or heterosexual parents who use their children disastrously, it's true. But it's not the majority. Eh?

I say, I don't know if it has been studied in depth by the specialists, I am not a specialist on this, pediatric psychology, pediatric education, the views of society towards those children, those children's views towards society, in sociology, in so many topics having to do with the human being - if we have done an in-depth study of the repercussions that the topic of adoption will have. I say, if we have studied it, it appears to me that we haven't studied it as much. Because, for example, France has spent 12 years studying the issue and it has yet to resolve it. And I believe that here [in Argentina], just like that, we have added it on at the end of the bill, just to ad it on. I believe, I sincerely believe that this one point, which raises a lot of questions for me personally, is the one that should be debated longer, eh?

As for equal rights for homosexuals, there is no doubt! The one, the only big question I have is the issue of adoption. But I say a 'question'. It would be important to be able to debate or talk about it with panelists in depth.

The last thing I want to say. People are talking, with very good reason, about equal rights. But take a look at how many equal rights are written into our constitution and our laws which aren't followed, which aren't followed. The constitution says 'housing for everyone', does everyone have housing? no. The constitution says 'respectful employment for everyone', does everyone have 'respectful employment'? No. The constitution says, eh, 'shared and just salary for workers, outright', does that exist? Partly, yes, partly, no. And so many other things that could be mentioned, which, in the end, are written laws, not reality, not reality, which then bring us the tail-end of the consequences we are now suffering when it comes to poverty, drug addiction, crime, etc. And then we all pull our hairs out. Why don't we also start to obey those rights.  I don't deny those of homosexuals. But there are others which we have kept hidden and nobody talks about them. No?

OK, this was my opinion and my commentary. I am sure you can be in agreement or disagreement. But I wanted to tell you what I thought about this. Thanks, and thank you, and until next week.

1 comment:

V. Igra said...

They have good reason to talk,. with very good reason, about equal rights. But take a look at how many equal rights are written into our constitution and our laws which aren't followed, which aren't followed. The constitution says 'housing for everyone', yaa this should be implemented.