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Last updateTue, 10 Dec 2019 12am







    Monday, December 9, 2019-3:07:34P.M.






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Guam church wages campaign vs pro-same sex union candidates

HAGÅTÑA — The Archdiocese of Agana has launched a campaign against 13 senatorial candidates who support the proposal for same-sex unions.

“Catholics must avoid voting for any candidate who intends to support programs or laws that are intrinsically evil,” Archbishop Anthony Sablan Apuron stated in an Aug. 27 letter to Catholic voters published in the Archdiocese’s newsletter “The Pacific Voice.”

The advocacy group called “The Esperansa Project” sent a questionnaire to all gubernatorial and senatorial candidates, touching on social issues involving abortion, same-sex unions and divorce.

In its Aug. 29 issue, “The Pacific Voice listed all the senatorial candidates who “support the legalization of same-sex unions.”

The 13 candidates include Jonathan Carriaga, Sen. BJ Cruz, Jonathan Diaz, Steven Dierking, Sen. Judith Guthertz, Corrina Gutierrez-Ludwig, Sen. Rory Respicio, Sarah Thomas-Nededog, Speaker Judith Won Pat, Dennis Borja, Shirley Mabini, Ailine Yamashita and Sen. Frank Aguon Jr., who are all Democrats.

While most of the targeted candidates are Democrats, three are Republicans — Shirley Mabini, Dennis Borja, and Ailine Yamashita.

With a total of 38 candidates — 19 Democrats and 19 Republicans — gunning for a legislative seat, the archdiocese is leaving Catholic voters with 25 candidates to choose from.

Apuron urged Catholics to vote in the coming elections using a “well-formed conscience.”

He stated that a “well-formed Christian” would vote against laws or programs that contradict “fundamental contents of faith and morals.”

Also in “The Pacific Voice,” the candidate survey preface and report, submitted by the Catholic Evidence Guild of Guam, said although the Vatican refers to the association between homosexual persons as a “union” instead of a “marriage,” the Church would allow no such distinctions even if the word “union” would seem more palatable to Catholics.

The guild added that although abortion would not be a factor in the elections because it is legal, “the legalization of same-sex unions is an election issue.”

“Some candidates are under the impression that as long as they steer clear of the word ‘marriage,’ the Church will either not mind or has no authority to speak,” it states. “This is not the case.”

Senator Guthertz, who turned in her survey with nearly half the questions left unanswered, said not giving candidates an option to elaborate their answers is unfair.

She said some of the questions were not verifiable and seemed to be worded in a way that supported an agenda that may interfere with individual Constitutional rights or medical personnel.

The preface report stated that “lengthy answers simply could not be accommodated in the current survey format.”

However Esperansa encouraged each candidate to post detailed responses to the group’s Facebook page.

Dr. Marjorie DeBenedictis, spokesperson for the Esperansa Project, maintained, however, that the group is strictly non-religious and that while the group does not support same-sex marriage, the Esperansa Project is primarily an anti-abortion lobby group.

However, DeBendictis said a number of Esperansa members also play dual roles as members of the Catholic Guild.