On Thursday they said:
“President Aquino is not ready to tackle the issue of gay marriage for now. We have so many problems in the government. I think we would like to address concerns on poverty and corruption before anything else.”
Pressed for a date for Aquino to announce his stand on the matter anytime soon, Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda said: “That answer is ambiguous. He is not ready to discuss the issue of gay marriage.”
Aquino was asked during the Asia Society Forum in New York on Tuesday if he sees nothing wrong with gay couples getting married.
“I don’t think I’m ready to tackle that fight right now. But the perspective . . . it is their choice,” he said.
“Normally I would say: you’re adults, you should be able to do whatever you want so long as it doesn’t hurt anybody else. But if the next step is we want the right to adopt, then, I would be in a dilemma. My priority would be looking after the child who has a very tender and impressionable mind,” he added.
Under the 1987 Constitution, gay marriage is not allowed in the Philippines.
But the Progressive Organization of Gays (ProGay-Philippines) said that their priority was not gay marriage but the passage of the House bill 1483 or the Anti-Discrimination Act of 2010.
Spokesman Goya Candelario said:
“ProGay believes it is truly shameful display for the Philippine government to display total lack of knowledge and appreciation of what the ‘lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer’ Filipinos need. Aquino must realize he should stop issuing mere motherhood statements on gay rights and do his homework on the existing legal work that gay activists have been pushing the government for more than 15 years now.”
Bemz Benedito, chairperson of Ladlad, a political party aiming to elect LGBT candidates to Congress in 2013, acknowledges that a greater degree of passive tolerance exists in the Philippines than elsewhere in Asia but said:
“The problem is that tolerance and leniency doesn’t always equate to opportunity and equal protection before the law. That’s why we are pushing for acceptance.”
Lesbian activist Ging Cristobal told The Diplomat:
“Tolerance is high in the Philippines as long as you conform to the stereotypes. As long as you are funny, as long as you don’t rock the boat and ask for your rights, it’s okay to be gay and lesbian here.”
What that means in practice is not doing anything to shame your family, said Cristobal.
“To avoid family shame, you regulate your own sexuality. You don’t come out.”
The Catholic Church is campaigning against ‘all modern ills,’ under the acronym of DEATH: divorce, euthanasia, abortion, total population control, and homosexual lifestyles. Across the country, priests deliver sermon after sermon against such threats as Benigno Aquino’s plan to pass a controversial reproductive health bill permitting the state to distribute contraceptive devices.
LGBT activists in Baguio City were threatened with arrest after the Church reacted with petitions and street protests against eight ceremonial unions performed during the city’s Pride event in June.
The Baguio Pride Network reported that:
“We are starting to receive documentation of individual LGBTs that experience bodily harassment that includes compulsory signing of petitions against different LGBT issues, verbal abuses and other hate-related actions that are directly related to these circumstances.”
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