CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 13 April 2019

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Scuffle with Rainbow Action at parish meeting

HONG KONG (UCAN): A lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender group disrupted a discussion afternoon on the anti-sexual orientation discrimination law at the parish church in North Point on March 13, asking the diocese for a formal discussion and dialogue with them.

The parish had organised an afternoon discussion on the Sex Orientation Discrimination Ordinance.

In January the Equal Opportunities Commission reported widespread public support for legislative protection against discrimination for  lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and called for the government to undertake public consultation to ascertain the scope and content of that legislation.

Soon after the parish event began, about 10 members from Rainbow Action, began shouting slogans like Stop discrimination, Start with dialogue and distributing leaflets outside the church complex.

Organisers called the police for help and the event was cancelled. Then a scuffle broke out as the group tried to enter the venue, but were stopped by parishioners, who said they had not registered for the event.

However, Jimmy Sham Tzs-kit, a member of Rainbow Action, said that he had telephoned the parish beforehand and was told, “You just come and it is okay.”

Father Martin Yip Tai-ho, who was present at the event, said the parish announcement on March 5 said it was necessary to register to attend.

Sham said they just wanted to hear the Catholic point of view on the ordinance.

“Many talks on the ordinance organised by the Church are behind closed doors. We only know of the diocese’s standpoint through John Cardinal Tong Hon’s letter released in November. We non-Catholic gay people are interested in what the Church says,” he said.

Cardinal Tong said in his letter that “core values and key concepts of marriage and of the family are continually being challenged and misinterpreted” because of the ordinance.

Rainbow Action had asked for an open dialogue with Cardinal Tong or any diocesan delegate to discuss the issue. “We know the Catholic Church has many worries on the ordinance. Dialogue is aimed to narrow the differences among us,” Sham said.

“We plan to invite other Christian Churches to have dialogue as well,” he added.

Rainbow Action has given the diocese two weeks to respond to its request for dialogue.

A spokesperson for the diocese, Fung Yat-ming, confirmed that the group’s invitation had been received.

 

In its report, the Equal Opportunities Commission says that 55.7 per cent of the telephone survey respondents agreed with the ordinance, which aims to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

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