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PHILIPPINES - Feb 4, 2003

Filipino gay and lesbian calls for the Catholic church to recognize a broader and more tolerant definition of family were dismissed by its aging leader. In a satellite broadcast from halfway around the world, the Pope addressed the World Meeting of Families conference in Manila and called the idea "egotistical" and said that same-sex families were "caricatures".

Although the Pope himself can never marry and supervises an almost exclusively male brotherhood, he claimed that unions between a man and a woman were the only ones to get god's official seal of approval, despite the fact that homosexuality and homosexual unions are evident everywhere in nature, especially in more intelligent species.

Oscar Atadero, leader of Progay Philippines (winner of a 2002 Utopia Award), said that family life is central to the lives of most Asians and that the church should be trying to unite families, not divide them.

Credence was lent to ProGay's claims that hatred was being seeded by comments from church leaders when Patricio Diaz, in The Mindanao Times, charitably proclaimed "When the freak becomes normal, the world turns upside down."

Joining gay and lesbian voices protesting the church's stance were members of the Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines, Women’s Media Circle, Women’s Legal Bureau, and organizations under the Reproductive Health Advocacy Network.

The Catholic church is currently suffering from revelations that it knowingly sheltered child abusers within its priesthood for decades.


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