An auxiliary bishop has said the Catholic church loves homosexuals just like drug addicts, even though it is not right to take drugs.

Michael Yeung Ming-cheung was speaking on Sunday in defence of Cardinal John Tong‘s pastoral letter in which he said Catholic believers should choose candidates in the upcoming elections based on their stances on the values of marriage and the family, and on the proposal to enact the Sexual Orientation Discrimination Ordinance (SODO).

Michael Yeung Ming-cheung
Michael Yeung Ming-cheung. File

Yeung said the church has no enemies and would not point fingers at anyone. “For example, we say drug abuse is wrong, but we still love the drug addict.”

“Cardinal Tong never asked anyone to vote for A but not B, I don’t think he was giving pressure… every vote we cast is a reflection of our values.” He added that Tong only asked people to fulfil their civil duties as voters, and to vote based on their conscience.

“Homosexuality is not a sin, please do not compare homosexuality to drug addiction. Please do not… stigmatise homosexuals,” openly gay lawmaker Ray Chan Chi-chuen wrote on his Facebook.

“Their minds are stuck before 1991, the time before homosexuality was decriminalised in Hong Kong,” Rainbow action spokesperson Jimmy Sham Tsz-kit, who organised the Hong Kong Pride Parade told Apple Daily.

Hong Kong Pride Parade.
Hong Kong Pride Parade. Photo: Dan Garrett.

Meanwhile, an Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) spokesperson has told HKFP that it respects Tong’s opinion, but clarifies that there are several ordinances to protect the rights of sexual minorities.

“As far as the existing anti-discrimination ordinances are concerned, at present the ordinances cover the public domains of employment, education, provision of goods, facilities or services, disposal or management of premises, eligibility to vote for and to be elected or appointed to advisory bodies, participation in clubs, and activities of Government – whereas marriage is not covered by the ordinances. As such, even with the introduction of SODO, the legislation would not cover same-sex marriage.”

“The EOC has all along advocated that no one should be subject to discrimination on the ground of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The Commission appreciates that there are divergent views in our society on the legal protection of sexual minorities. The EOC will continue to promote and facilitate rational discussion on the topic across different sectors of the community, with a view to building a truly diverse and inclusive society.”

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.