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First Person
Is the Philippines Ready for (Gay) Marriage?

By Ige Ramos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 19:20:00 05/01/2010

Filed Under: Gender Issues, Lifestyle & Leisure, Lifestyle (House & Home)

?Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people whom we personally dislike.??Oscar Wilde

IS the Philippines mature enough to embrace same-sex civil partnership or gay marriage?

?Why rock the boat?? Spoke one of my gay friends who?s content enough in his relationship with his partner. ?God knows, we have yet to perfect heterosexual marriage, and even divorce has yet to be approved in this conservative country of ours!?

So why work towards something that might never happen in our lifetime?

Well I would respond to that by saying that any cause worth fighting for should be for the good of future generations and not just for personal gain. Many people throughout history have suffered so that others might reap the benefits of their actions and personal sacrifice. In the context of homosexuals, we can look back at the imprisonment of writer Oscar Wilde, and consider the change (albeit slowly) this action has brought about in the mindset of the people of Britain at that time towards those of a different sexual orientation.

In the Philippines, same-sex unions will never be legalized as long as the political sector continues to allow itself to be influenced, not just by the Church of Rome, but also by all Christian faiths. This was never more evident than during a recent debate among presidential candidates, when all revealed their true colors by stating that they did not fully approve of the long-delayed Reproductive Health bill. This I view not as a reflection of their principles, but rather what they felt their fundamental Christian voters wanted to hear. And therein lies the hypocrisy!

Consider also the moralistic stand taken by the Comelec when it initially refused to accept Ang Ladlad as a legitimate political party, on the grounds that they spread ?immorality.? One has to wonder what those righteous people in the Comelec are so concerned about. Whether you consider it immoral or not, homosexuality is not a chosen lifestyle. It cannot be passed on or ?inflicted? upon others, nor is it like some disease that can be contracted. To put it simply, you either are or you aren?t! It is genetic and nothing in this wide world will ever change that.

Acceptance, of course, is something else. It is an ironic fact that despite the various churches? continued, and even obsessive, condemnation, homosexuality and indeed same sex partnerships are generally accepted in our country. What is needed, however, is for the populace to stand up and be counted by demanding that civil rights be granted to all, regardless of sexuality or faith. And here?s a thought; it?s just possible you may be fighting for the future rights of your own children.

The first step in this direction should be the revival of, and public support for, the Anti-Discrimination Bill allowing gay Filipinos equal opportunities in the workplace. A law protecting gay children from bullying in schools should be also be incorporated into this bill.

So what is the true essence of civil partnership?

To quote the UK model, which was instituted in 2004: ?Civil partnership is a right and a responsibility granted to same-sex couples that is identical to heterosexual marriage. They are entitled to the same property rights, inheritance tax, social security, tenancy rights, full life insurance recognition, next-of-kin rights in hospitals, and pension benefits.?

Now, what is so threatening about that? Even before the Civil Partnership Bill was voted into law in the UK, many progressive companies such as British Airways and British Petroleum had already faced reality and acknowledged same-sex relationships by agreeing to extended employment benefits to the partners of their employees in the event of death. In the case of British Airways, same sex partners were also recognized as spouses for the purpose of travel privileges. ?



Copyright 2014 Philippine Daily Inquirer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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