May 31, 2015

[Pink News] Gay Marriage in the Philippines in Our Lifetime?

On May 19, Jesus Nicardo Falcis III filed a petition with the Philippine Supreme Court to nullify provisions of the Family Code that prevent gay marriage in the country. It's a rather bold move that should prove to be an interesting legal at the very least regardless of the outcome. If anything, it represents one of the more serious efforts to get the gay marriage question discussed in legal circles. At the very least I expect our own legislators to give more thought to the matter, which will most likely include a few bills that will try to reinforce the Family Code or introduce other legal restrictions geared towards preventing gay marriage from becoming a reality in the Philippines.

A few days before the filing was made public by the Supreme Court, this commentary piece appeared on GMA News with the mantra that seems to be in use more and more when it comes to talking about this subject - Not In Our Lifetime. It refers to the usual answer when people ask if they think gay marriage will ever become legal here. Most don't expect it to happen in our lifetime and thus even the major LGBT groups have focused more on pushing anti-discrimination legislation as opposed to going straight to gay marriage.

Falcis echoed the "not in my lifetime" statement in his own opinion piece over on Rappler, where he talks about his reasons for challenging the Supreme Court in this manner. It's a bold move and I laud him for his efforts and those of us in the LGBT community ought to do our part to show our support. Sure, our Supreme Court isn't quite as "cool" as the US Supreme Court tends to be on such matters, but every bit helps.

Just over the weekend we saw Ireland vote in support for gay marriage on a national scale. It was the first time that a popular vote determined the legality of gay marriage for a country. And gay marriage won with about 62% of the vote - which is pretty darned amazing. There's a wave of change slowly sweeping across the world with gay marriage now legal in about 20 countries so far. It's not exactly a tsunami, but it's definitely gaining strength as time passes.

Maybe we will live to see gay marriage in the Philippines in our lifetime. But if that reality is going to become real any sooner, it will need more people to show their support and be prepared to get the heavy lifting done. The Ireland vote won because of a lot of hard work to raise awareness and gain support. Falcis' Supreme Court petition is one big step forward, but there's going to be a longer legal fight ahead of us and we need to get out there and get our voices heard.

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