Members of the LGBT community and other human rights groups are up in arms over comments made by leaders of the Hong Kong Catholic clergy over gay rights.
The Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church and Bishop of Hong Kong, John Tong Hon, came under fire after he was quoted as saying that Catholics who will be voting in the District Council elections on Nov. 22 should be mindful of the candidates’ stance on a proposal to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, Apple Daily reported on Monday.
Tong said people who are promoting extreme liberalism, individualism, sexual liberation and gay rights are using fake reasons like “equality” and “anti-discrimination” to try to introduce same-sex marriage into Hong Kong.
He said such movements will undermine traditional family values and shake the social foundation.
His comments came two days before the local LGBT community held the Hong Kong Pride Parade 2015 on Saturday.
Coming to the defense of the cardinal, Auxiliary Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung was accused of adding insult to injury by using what many thought was an inappropriate analogy.
Yeung said on Sunday the Church does not bear a grudge against anybody, and that it condemns a person’s wrongdoing but not the person.
He went on to say that taking drugs is not correct but Christians should continue to show brotherly love to a person who once took drugs.
Yeung said Tong’s comments were never intended to put pressure on members or to ask them to vote for specific candidates.
He said the Cardinal was merely encouraging people to exercise their civic duty by casting their votes.
Yeung also stressed that Tong’s comments were aimed at “instilling conscience” and a timely reminder for Christians to uphold the sanctity of marriage and family.
However, several groups were angered by Yeung’s statement comparing a homosexual to a drug addict.
Shum Tsz-kit of Rainbow Action, an LGBT rights group, said Tong’s comments denied homosexuals of their rights, and Yeung’s clarifications only deepened people’s frustrations.
“To compare homosexuality to drug abuse is a clear reflection that their thinking was still at a time before 1991 when homosexuality was decriminalized in Hong Kong,” Shum said.
People Power’s Raymond Chan Chi-Chuen, the city’s first openly gay legislator, said Yeung used a terrible analogy, equating homosexuality to a crime.
It was understandable that members of the LGBT community were offended by Yeung’s remarks, Chan said.
Chan Ho-lok of the Student Christian Movement of Hong Kong said both Tong and Yeung were hypocritical.
“Why did they only touch on the subject of sexual orientation when there are so many issues related to the elections, such as labor insurance, retirement protection and maximum work hours,” Chan said.
Lawmaker Cyd Ho from the Labour Party said comparing homosexuality to a criminal action goes beyond one’s religious values and constitutes discrimination.
Choi Chi-sum, of the Society for Truth and Light, said Yeung’s comparison was not intended to equate the two things and the issue should not be twisted that way.
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