RELIGION
07/29/2015 11:40 am ET Updated Jul 29, 2015

Catholic Church Denies That Preventing Transgender Man From Being A Godparent Is 'Discrimination'

EFE

Alex Salinas is 21 years old. He was assigned female at birth, but is now living as his authentic self as a man. He is a "firm believer" and wants to be a godparent at his nephew's baptism but the diocese of Cadiz and Ceuta is standing in his way. According to them, he is not a "suitable" person because of the life he leads, a life not "congruent with faith.”

However, they do not find their argument to be discriminatory.

The diocese insists that "no discrimination is implied" by impeding a transgender man from being the godfather at the baptism of his nephew in the parish of San Fernando (Cadiz), indicating that it "happens frequently" with people who are not considered "suitable" because of their "lifestyle, opinions, and lack of congruence with Christian life and the Church's regulations."

The diocese says that. in responding to the petition they received from Salinas to be a godparent at the baptism, the priest maintained a "cordial conversation" with him, indicating that he must fulfill the requisites stated in the Code of Canon Law which requires that any godfather or godmother at a baptism "be Catholic, be confirmed, have received the holy sacrament of the Eucharist and, at the same time, live a life congruent with faith and the mission they are assuming."

The statement insists that in the "long chat that protected the feelings of the applicant, the priest encouraged him to live congruently with faith" and that, despite not being a godparent at the baptism, he could participate in some way as a "spiritual godparent," and able to encourage and help his nephew in his life of faith.

The Code of Canon Law makes it clear that it is the priest or the minister of sacrament who enforces the law and even "dissuade those who do not measure up for different reasons, for the good of the baptized, because the godparent must watch over the development of faith in the baptized and must walk with him so he might learn at his side the fundamental doctrine and morals of Christian faith."

"To the church, I am still a woman, even though my documents of identification have changed," explained Alex Salinas, who wants the diocese to reconsider their decision, which he took "as a kick in the stomach" because he is a "firm believer."

Salinas, who since February of last year has had the I.D. of a man and is on a waiting list for a gender confirmation surgery, does not understand the Church's refusal to let him be a godparent to his sister's son.

The young man, who identifies as Catholic, said at first the parish of San Fernando de Cadiz did not object to him being a godparent in the religious ceremony. However, upon asking the diocese for documentation for the baptism, the parish told him he could not carry out the role.

The young man then appealed to other parishes in the town, but found all of them greeted him with the same response.

Salinas predicts filing a complaint before the courts because he does not consider it "just" for the Church to treat him "like someone different."

In statements made to the network Ser, he explained that he will appeal within the church and also to the courts to avoid what he sees as discrimination.

Spain's Oversight against LGBTfobia this Tuesday called it "ethically reprehensible" that the diocese of Cadiz and Ceuta would not permit a transgender man, "a practicing Catholic," to be godfather to his nephew in San Fernando.

“Although legally it cannot be denounced as discrimination because it is regulated by the internal norms of the Catholic Church," to them it does seem "ethically reprehensible from every point of view," says Francisco Ramirez, the director of Oversight.

This piece originally appeared on HuffPost Spain and has been translated from the original Spanish.

Also on The Huffington Post

LISTEN: God Is Trans: The Extraordinary Spirituality Of Transgender Lives (PODCAST)

CONVERSATIONS