September 17, 2014
Want CFK to be godmotherFriday, March 28, 2014
Córdoba Archbishop OKs baptism for same-sex couple’s baby
The two-month-old daughter of a lesbian couple currently involved in a labour dispute with Córdoba province Police over one of the mother’s right to maternity leave, will, on April 5, become the first child of a same-sex couple to be baptized by the Argentine Catholic Church.
Church officials yesterday confirmed that Córdoba Archbishop Carlos Ñáñez had, based on “general recommendations,” granted the baptism of Umma Azul, the daughter of Soledad Ortiz and Karina Villarroel.
“We had a hearing with Archbishop Ñáñez and he told us there was no problem in our daughter being baptized in the Cathedral,” confirmed Villarroel, who indicated to the local daily La Voz del Interior newspaper they planned to ask President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner to be the girl’s godmother.
“The other day we heard from the Office of the President asking about the date of the baptism as they want to participate,” she said.
Ortiz and Villarroel, married just under a year ago, are currently involved in an ongoing dispute with Córdoba Police after they refused to grant Villarroel maternity leave on the grounds she did not carry the girl through pregnancy. Villarroel was eventually dismissed from the force by the province’s Police Conduct Tribunal for not showing up to work.
Alex Freyre, a gay-rights activist, told the Herald he largely agreed with those who said Pope Francis was at least indirectly to thank for this development.
“The media wants a gay-friendly pope and so too does society,” he said. “The fact that he is Argentine and he senses the exposure gay-rights issues get in this country, I think is a good thing and it helps.”
But Freyre, who was part of the first gay couple to marry in Argentina, also had words of caution.
“The Church accepts homosexuals themselves, but not homosexuality in practice. So in terms of sin, this girl is not at fault for her mothers being gay or not. It’s an interesting development because in another era this wouldn’t have happened,” he explained.
Archbishop Ñáñez had allegedly given the priest who will perform the cermony, Carlos Varas, special instructions about registering the baptism, though court officials did not provide details.
In September of last year, a row erupted in the UK between a lesbian couple, Aimi and Victoria Leggett, and a now retired priest from the Church of England over the registration of both women as mothers on their son Alphie’s baptism certificate.
Rev. George Gebauer had first refused to perform the ceremony, and later told the couple that at best only one of the mothers could appear on the boy’s baptism certificate, with the other registered as the godmother.
He was later rebuked by the Church, with the baptism going ahead under a different priest, and both women registered as the boy’s mothers.
“There are many gay couples who have been educated in the Judeo-Christian culture who want to be accepted by a Church that has so often rejected it,” stressed Freyre. “It has to do with people’s search for happiness.”
The baptism of Umma Azul, who was born on January 27, will take place on Saturday April 5 at 10.30am in the Señora de la Asunción Cathedral in Córdoba City.