Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Same-sex marriage in the Philippines

See - https://www.sunstar.com.ph/article/1754940/Tacloban/Local-News/Same-sex-wedding-thrives-in-Philippines-amid-opposition

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Same-sex wedding thrives in Philippines amid opposition
July 27, 2018

THE issue of same-sex marriage is not about religion. It is about the equal protection of the law.

Rev. Crescencio Agbayani Jr., pastor of Quezon City-based LGBTS Christian Church Inc., continued to remind the critics of same-sex marriage, as more lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders (LGBTS) have come forward for a holy union rite despite the strong opposition particularly from the Catholic church.

“Our Constitution states that no one should be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor shall anyone be denied of equal protection of the law,” said Agbani.

He said their next same-sex mass wedding will be in Davao City, hometown of President Rodrigo Duterte, on October 28. Last June, dozens of LGBT couples were also wed during the annual observance of Pride Month.

While the Philippine government has yet to recognize the right of LGBT couples to civil marriage, Agbayani said they remain “very positive” on the final decision of the Supreme Court over the marriage equality in the country.

“If we’ll be lost, then will start again. We’re not going to give up until we’ll achieve the same legal rights as any other couple. LGBT couples are family, too,” Agbayani told SunStar Philippines.

He added that they “need security and peace of mind that our partners for life are also our partners under the law.”

“We are Filipinos who pay taxes and serve our country, too. We deserve to have our relationship as a family legally recognized,” Agbayani wrote, as he urged the LGBT community to continue holding vigil and rally for their rights.

Having educated at the Union Theological Seminary in Cavite with Master of Divinity in Christianity and Culture and awarded the Bishop La Verne Mercado Award in Ecumenics, Agbayani has been conducting same-sex holy union rite in the Philippines and other countries in Asia.

Earlier, Palo Archdiocese priest Virgilio Cañete said that “our society has been tolerant enough” over the issue on the same-sex marriage.

He added that “such unions are everywhere, and no one in this tolerant times can prevent such same-sex unions.”

“But making a law for this is no longer part of being tolerant but promotes beyond what is needed, at the expense of social conventions, our culture, and faith,” Cañete said.

“I am a priest, and so you can expect what my response is. It is not about my own, but the Catholic Church's: The Catholic Church teaches that marriage can be made only between a man and a woman, and opposes the introduction of both civil and religious same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage is not legal here in the Philippines, right? Or at least, not yet, and I rue the day when it will be,” added Msgr. Ramon Aguilos.

Aguilos maintained that “the Church holds that same-sex unions are an unfavorable environment for children and that the legalization of such unions is harmful to society.”

“So, whether the mass wedding of same-sex marriage be held in Eastern Visayas region or elsewhere in the archipelago or anywhere in the world or in the universe, I have the same answer,” he said.

Aside from the Catholic church, a known lawyer also opposed the same-sex civil union in the country.

“So sad that same-sex marriage is even considered to be a national policy. Are we heading towards a modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah, and have to go through the ravages of a destroyed modern-day Babylon?” asked lawyer Levito Baligod.

'The heart knows no gender'

“Ladlad supports marriage equality and the right of LGBT+ for civil partnerships,” said university professor Danton Remoto, founder and leader of Ladlad, the political party for LGBT Filipinos.

Meanwhile, Agbayani said that any opposition from the Catholic Church and other conservative Filipinos is expected.

The pastor then called on those same-sex couples who remained afraid of public scrutiny to come out into the open, urging them not to be afraid of the bullying and bashing.

“The Bible is about love not hate against homosexuality. There is nothing wrong on homosexuality because this is one of man’s nature. Not everyone is ‘straight’ and heterosexual. There are also LGBT people of God, created by God. We are loved by our Parent God. He always loves us. Love will conquer hate,” Agbayani said.

In 2015, an open and self-identified homosexual lawyer Jesus Nicardo M. Falcis III petitioned the high court to declare as unconstitutional Articles 1 and 2, which "define and limit marriage as between man and woman," of Executive Order 209, also known as The Family Code of the Philippines.

In his petition, he wanted to nullify Articles 46 (4) and 55 (6), which cite lesbianism or homosexuality as grounds for annulment and legal separation.

He also asked the higher court to “prohibit the Civil Registrar-General from enforcing the aforementioned portions of Articles 1 and 2 of the Family Code in processing applications for and in issuing marriage licenses against homosexual couples.”

A bill that considered the possibility of recognizing "civil unions" regardless of sexual orientation is currently pending at the House of Congress. (SunStar Philippines)

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