On 3 September, the Philippine High Court rejected the legalization of same-sex marriages, but LGBT advocates in a deeply Catholic country promised to continue to fight for their rights in the legal field
The leading plaintiff, Jesus Falsis, claimed that the current law was a violation of his rights, but by unanimous decision the Supreme Court rejected his case mainly for technical reasons.
The lawyers argued that Falsis himself had never tried to marry, so it would not have been beneficial for him if the judges had rejected the parts of the 1987 law defining marriage as a procedure between a man and a woman.
Although the Philippines has a reputation for partially recognizing same-sex relationships, conservative Catholic values are still deeply rooted here.
Abortion is prohibited and, with a population of about 107 million, the Philippines is the only place outside the Vatican where divorce is prohibited. Approximately 80% of the population is Christian.
Despite its decision, in a text published for journalists, the Court noted that “the Constitution does not define or limit marriage on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
It goes on to state that same-sex unions are “a matter to be addressed to Congress”.
Danton Remoto, chairman of the LGBT political party Ang Ladlad, which means “Out of the closet,” said that despite the court’s decision, the community will continue to fight for equal rights.
“This decision simply means that we must continue to advocate for the adoption of an anti-discrimination law in Congress, where we have many allies,” Remoto said.
However, he admitted that it would be difficult to pass a bill on gender equality in the Senate, whose leader has already ruled out such a measure.
“A serious stumbling block will be the Senate, where Christian fundamentalists meet. They have forgotten about the separation of church and state in the Philippines,” said Remoto.
Source: Channel News Asia.