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Filipino Catholics oppose LGBTQ topics in curriculum

Introducing lessons on topics like same-sex unions is not only anti-Bible but against Philippine law, they argue
LGBT groups hold a rally in Manila to hail the US Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage in the United States in 2015

LGBT groups hold a rally in Manila to hail the US Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage in the United States in 2015. (Photo: UCAN files)

Published: May 05, 2023 05:24 AM GMT
Updated: May 05, 2023 05:37 AM GMT

Philippine Christian groups, including a youth organization, have voiced their opposition to the introduction of topics like same-sex unions and gender discrimination in the draft curriculum for 10th-grade students.

The recent proposal to include lessons on topics like gender discrimination, rights and experiences of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community by the Department of Education was contrary to the “morals and public customs” of Filipino people, they argued.

“Our youth is not yet ready for such topics, which challenge the Christian-dominated culture of the Philippine nation. It remains contrary to law, good customs, morals, and public policy,” Michael Israel, president of the Catholic Youth for Christ told UCA News on May 4.

Israel said the education department cannot surpass Congress on an issue that has not yet been legalized in the country, where same-sex unions, either in the form of marriage or civil unions, are not yet legally recognized.

“Even the president [Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.] said the country is not yet ready for that piece of legislation. Then, why is the topic being included in the curriculum?” he asked.

In 2019, a group of gay rights advocates questioned the constitutionality of the definition of marriage under Philippine law as a “union between male and female.”

"Same-sex marriage is slowly creeping under our nose into the very curriculum of our basic education"

The group claimed that such a definition restricted same-sex unions, contrary to the constitution that offered no “gender-based” definition of marriage.

“Our constitution did not say that marriage should be a union between male and female. It only says that marriage is the foundation of society … neither does it define spouses as male and female,” gay rights advocate Carlo Libiran told UCA News.

Christian groups, however, said the courts should intervene to determine if the education department indeed exceeded its mandate by including “illegal topics” in mainstream education.

“We are shocked to discover that the promotion of gender ideology, same-sex unions and same-sex marriage is slowly creeping under our nose into the very curriculum of our basic education. What is more worrying is the slant towards promoting and condoning such practices in the minds of our young students,” Christian pastor and lawmaker Brother Eddie Villanueva said in a statement.

Villanueva said the education department’s decision was not only anti-Bible but against Philippine law.

“Not only is this anti-God but also clearly unconstitutional. Section 13, Article II of the constitution mandates that the state shall promote the moral and spiritual well-being of our youth. I do not see that the introduction of these topics into our basic education curriculum is heading in the right direction,” he added.

“It seeks to provide learners with a broader understanding of gender-based issues"

The Department of Education though claimed that the topic of same-sex unions has been in the curriculum since 2013.

“It seeks to provide learners with a broader understanding of gender-based issues, encourage respect within the community, and promote inclusivity,” it said in a statement on May 3.

The education department, however, said it would gather and consider all opinions before finalizing the curriculum.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines said the new curriculum could hurt academic freedom among Catholic schools and universities.

“Academic freedom has always been the right of every academic institution to determine who may teach; what may be taught; how it shall be taught; and who may be admitted to study. This raises doubts in our academic freedom as a Catholic institution,” the Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education executive secretary Father Ernesto De Leon told UCA News.

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