01/08/2013 09:18 BST | Updated 30/09/2013 06:12 BST

Philippines Archbishop Backs Pope's Stance on Gays, But Says They Must 'Behave' and Not Make Themselves 'Laughing Stocks'


MANILA, Philippines - A leading Philippines clergymen, Archbishop emeritus Oscar Cruz, said he agreed with Pope Francis that gay people should not be judged, but at the same time, recommended avoiding actions that would make them "laughing stocks".

Cruz, who is also the former president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines stated: "Just like women and men, the third sex should also not lower their dignities.

"When they [gays] dress up as females, wear high heels and other such acts, they are lowering their dignities as they make themselves laughing stocks. I think that is not fair to them because they are being laughed at," he said on Tuesday.

His comments were timed as a response to Pope Francis statement that gays should not be judged or be marginalised, nevertheless that same-sex acts are still sin and should be avoided, reported the daily The Manila Times.

Cruz said he agreed with the Pope that LGBT people deserve respect from others just like any human being. He also clarified that being gay does not mean that they are sinning more than any other individuals.

"As far as the Church is concerned, everybody deserves respect. Let us not mock. Let us not malign... If a man has an inclination with another man, he is still a man. If a woman has an inclination with another woman, she is still a woman," the CBCP official said.

"We also have to respect them because they are also children of God. They are humans too. Don't tell me that homosexuals commit graver sins than ordinary men and women. No. That is not true," he commented.

At the same time, Cruz stated that the Catholic Church would never agree to legalise the same-sex marriage.

"Marriage is just for men and women. Same sex marriage is another thing. You can call it marriage a hundred times but it will never be a marriage," he stressed.

Cruz has recently expressed hardline opinions against gay marriage and LGBT rights.

The Philippines's population is largely Roman Catholic with a large Muslim minority, it is one of the more liberal countries in Asia regarding same-sex acts, with gays allowed to serve in the military.