July 4, 2015, 11:41 p.m. – A STUDENT organization has
stood by its rainbow-filtered social media profile pictures celebrating gay
pride and the legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States.

The gay-pride-themed profile pictures were in
“solidarity” with lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders (LGBT)
“celebrating Pride Month and the US Supreme Court ruling on equal
marriage,” according to a July 4 statement posted on Facebook by
TomasinoWeb, a student group accredited by the Office of Student Affairs (OSA).

The rainbow colors are a “prominent symbol of the LGBT
struggle,” said the group, which runs an online media platform.

“Moved by love and compassion towards the LGBT community,
the [TomasinoWeb] Core group of officers decided in a majority vote to change
the profile picture,” the statement read.

The 16-person “core group” voted to change the
TomasinoWeb profile pictures last June 27, the statement said. It added that
the profile pictures were taken down on June 28, the day after the “Metro
Manila Pride March.” The statement did not say why the rainbow-filtered
profile pictures were taken down.

The College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) claimed
in a statement last June 29 that the OSA ordered the take-down of the profile
pictures.

A July 2 story by the Varsitarian
quoted a comment by UST Secretary General Fr. Winston Cabading, O.P. on the
“Youth for Life” Facebook page clarifying that “changing the profile
[picture] was not the decision of the [organization],” referring to
TomasinoWeb, but by “one of their members who was a [Facebook page] administrator.”

Fr. Cabading said that aside from University officials,
“many others” called TomasinoWeb’s attention to the rainbow-filtered profile
pictures, and these were taken down as a result.

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TomasinoWeb acknowledged that the “change (in profile
pictures) was met with cheers and jeers.” It claimed that there was no
intention to offend anyone or go against the teachings of the Catholic Church,
which holds that marriage is a unitive and procreative union of one man and one
woman.

“[W]e understand that some people were offended by the profile
picture and we humbly apologize to them, as it was not our intention to do so
nor was it our intention to go against the teachings of the Catholic Church,”
the statement added. “We respect and consider everyone’s opinions, as it is
necessary for a functioning democracy.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that homosexual
acts are against natural law. Still, homosexuals must be treated with “respect,
compassion, and sensitivity.” The Catechism adds: “Every sign of unjust
discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to
fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the
sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their
condition.”

TomasinoWeb was conceptualized by Dominican priest Fr.
Melchor Saria, former director of the Santo Tomas e-Service Providers (STePS),
the information technology office of the UST administration. It was founded
“under the guidance of STePS” in 2007, and gained OSA accreditation in 2008.

TomasinoWeb’s “About” page states that as “an
organization based in UST, TomasinoWeb aids in inculcating the Thomasian values
in its members.” Dayanara T. Cudal

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