It is estimated that about 7 thousand people attended Manila's annual Pride March today, Saturday, June 30th, as the country's top court deliberated a case seeking to legalize same sex marriage in this predominantly Catholic nation.
The Philippine Supreme Court began oral arguments on June 19 regarding a case filed by a self-declared gay rights lawyer seeking to strike down Family Code provisions that prohibit LGBT couples from getting legally married.
President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesperson said the public was not yet ready for LGBT unions. The government's lawyer has also urged the court to disregard the petition because it failed to go through the lower courts first.
A poll conducted in March reported that six in 10 Filipinos opposed same-sex marriage.
LGBT rights groups said homosexual couples should have the same rights to marriage and its economic benefits as other Filipinos, while some lobby for the institution of same sex civil unions as a compromise.
The event is organized every June to provide a “safe space” for LGBT members to “call for their rights,” Nicky Castillo, overall co-coordinator of Metro Manila Pride, told ABS-CBN News.
“This is the one time in the whole of 12 months that suddenly they are listening to us,” Castillo said.
This year’s Pride March, coming days after the Supreme Court concluded its oral arguments on same-sex marriage, is “a call for the realization, promotion and fulfilment of our human rights,” she added
Castillo said they have been pushing to legalize same-sex unions “not for the “cakes and parties” but to be recognized as their partner’s legal spouse and immediate family. abs-cbn.com
Same-sex marriage in the Philippines
Hours before the Pride March began, the Social Weather Stations released a survey that showed about 61 percent of Filipinos said they disagree with the proposed law that would permit same-sex marriages in the country.
The SWS study showed that about 44 percent of the total 1,200 surveyed nationwide said they “strongly disagree” with the proposed law while 17 percent said they “somewhat disagree” with it. The SWS survey ran from from March 23 to 27, 2018.
The SWS noted that most of those who opposed belong to Christian denominations, followed by members of the Muslim and Roman Catholic faiths.
Meanwhile, 22 percent of the surveyed respondents said they agree with the proposal to have a same-sex marriage law in the country.
The survey also revealed that about 16 percent of the respondents said they are still undecided on their support to the proposed law.
The SWS study was conducted using a face-to-face interview with 1,200 respondents.
However, the polling body did not specifically identify if the respondents were members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community.
The Supreme Court has yet to set a date for deciding on a petition to revise a Family Code provision that limits marriage between a man and a woman.