Looks like gay marriage will come another day for the Philippines.
A landmark case focused on potentially legalizing gay marriage has ended in rejection for same-sex couples across the Asian country, according to AFP. The Philippines’ highest court ruled unanimously on Tuesday that lead plaintiff Jesus Falcis’s claim of his rights being violated by the current law was incorrect. The court ruled that Falcis had never tried to get married. Thus, he would not benefit from the change of the 1987 law defining marriage as between a man and a woman.
The court also released a textual defense of its decision that said the “constitution does not define, or restrict, marriage on the basis of… sexual orientation, or gender identity.” The text went further to say that same-sex unions “may, for now, be a matter that should be addressed to Congress.”
This ruling is, sadly, to be expected in the deeply Catholic nation. While the public has general tolerance, and maybe even acceptance, of same-sex couples, the religious and conservative portion of society and government have intensely fought against them. For instance, Danton Remoto, chair of LGBTQ political party Ang Ladlad, told AFP that it’s hard to get LGTBQ rights passed in the country’s Senate because the Senate leader has already ruled out gender and sexual orientation equality bills from ever being approved.
“The great stumbling block will be the Senate, peopled by Christian fundamentalists who have forgotten that there is separation of church and state in the Philippines,” he said.
That said, there is some support for same-sex marriage in the country’s government. President Rodrigo Duterte expressed his support for gay marriage as a solution for the ongoing sex scandals happening in the Catholic church.
“Allow them to marry. Same-sex, go ahead. Live together. The Catholics…the Muslims can only have four. The Catholics can have up to three wives. I’ll add more for us because there are those who have not been married yet,” the president said while distributing grants to cash transfer beneficiaries in Cebu on Sunday.
“Priests should be allowed to marry. That’s the only solution there. Even the gay ones, allow them to marry, same-sex marriage. I am in favor of that to put an end to the problem,” he added.
But even then, Duterte isn’t a true ally as he constantly changes his opinion on LGBTQ people in the country. As such, it looks like gaining rights and protections will be a tough battle for LGBTQ citizens in the Philippines. And, there’s no end in sight.