In an open letter to Ecuadorian Catholics, the president of the Bishops’ Conference of Ecuador, Archbishop Antonio Arregui of Guayaquil, responded to media reports that distorted his statements by saying that he was not asking for special rights for homosexuals.
In his letter, the archbishop recalled that “the only purpose of any intervention by the Catholic Church in social and legal issues is to promote and protect the dignity of the human person in light of the Gospel and correct reason.”
He warned against proposals that have been put forth during debate on the new constitution that would make same-sex unions equivalent to marriage, noting that the bishops have stressed that “unions formed by homosexuals cannot be considered as marriages or families.”
After recalling the Christian teaching on homosexual activity, Archbishop Arregui emphasized that the Church “does not engage in unjust discrimination. The Church treats men and women with homosexual tendencies with understanding, respect and sensitivity.”
“When it comes to legislation, this means that no law can attempt to equate these relationships and unions with the incomparable treasure of marriage and the family,” the archbishop said. He added that, “confusion comes when we speak about the regulation of the rights and obligations that may originate in a lasting relationship between homosexual persons, which cannot take place in a legal vacuum. But the legal channel for these possible rights and obligations is the same one for laws in general, without any need for specific singularities.”
“Dear brothers and sisters, in recent months there have been many currents circulating that are adverse to Christian values, and at the same time, we have a great opportunity to work for a more just and fraternal society under the protection of the Lord. Let us unite our efforts, transcending political differences, in service to our country,” the archbishop said.