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Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, homosexuality is not a human defect. Equal rights not sympathy!

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EQUAL GROUND is seriously disturbed by the discriminatory comments made by the Archbishop of Colombo, Cardinal Malcom Ranjith, at a press conference held on December 6 in Colombo.

During the press conference, Cardinal Malcom Ranjith stated that the Catholic Church should be more empathetic towards homosexuals [hereinafter referred to as “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual/ LGB”] considering their ‘defects’. EQUAL GROUND finds this comment to be extremely derogatory and inaccurate.

As published on the Ada Derana Sinhala News website:

"According to the religious teachings and beliefs of the Catholic Church, marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman. God’s Word says that man and woman shall unite in marriage and procreate, which is also the natural order.

In that light, lesbian and homosexual unions cannot be allowed. These people [LGB community] could be defective and cannot overcome this problem [homosexuality] due to shortcomings in their conduct and upbringing. While we must treat people facing this problem with empathy, we cannot allow them to be married”.

Despite EQUAL GROUND’s continued secular and apolitical stance, we cannot overlook this statement or the negative consequences that will arise as a result of it.

First, with respect to the false claim that homosexuality is caused due to a natural defect or a shortcoming in upbringing and behaviour, scientific research has suggested that there are numerous bases for an individual’s sexual orientation and has only conclusively stated that human sexuality is enormously complicated, the mysteries of which we are yet to unravel.

Diversity is not synonymous with defective. LGB persons are still human beings who contribute to society. They don’t deserve sympathy they deserve equal rights and respect.

With the little knowledge we have of the Bible, we know that the Bible preaches love not hatred, respect not derision and in essence encourages inclusivity regardless of social status, appearance, occupation and other grounds.

With regard to the subject of marriage, we believe that any relationship that brings love, mercy, forgiveness, kindness, generosity and faithfulness is considered good and divine.  Persons of the LGB community, exhibit all these qualities in their relationships. How then is it fair to deny them of the same rights merely on the basis that their relationship does not result in offspring?

Numerous Catholic states have embraced human diversity by legalising and facilitating gay marriage and adoption among other civil rights, on the basis of the undisputed fact that we are all born free and equal in dignity and in rights.

Finally, we would also like bring to the notice of Cardinal Malcom Ranjith, that homosexuality is not a new occurrence in Sri Lanka or any other country for that matter. With all due respect, although Catholism was introduced by our colonisers, no one disputes or questions its place in Sri Lankan culture. In fact, the interview where these statements were made by the Cardinal was in the context of the erection of a giant Christmas tree at Galle Face to celebrate diversity in Sri Lankan culture! Why then this discrimination against LGB persons in the country?

We would greatly appreciate if Cardinal Malcom Ranjith spares some time to have a direct, open conversation with the LGB community, so that together, we can overcome the prejudices and misconceptions we harbour against each other.



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