Apr 9, 2010

The Supreme Court approves Ang Ladlad as a party-list candidate!

Ang Ladlad for Party List #89

The Supreme Court’s recent decision, passing with a vote of 13-2, rejecting the COMELEC’s two resolutions disqualifying Ang Ladlad from the party list elections is definitely one of the best pieces of news I have heard all week (and the week is not yet over)! Finally, I can vote for a party list organizaton that actually represents me! See the news articles from Inquirer, the Philippine Star, Manila Bulletin, ABS-CBN and GMA.

The following paragraphs from the Supreme Court’s decision bear repeating:

We are not blind to the fact that, through the years, homosexual conduct, and perhaps homosexuals themselves, have borne the brunt of societal disapproval. It is not difficult to imagine the reasons behind this censure – religious beliefs, convictions about the preservation of marriage, family, and procreation, even dislike or distrust of homosexuals themselves and their perceived lifestyle. Nonetheless, we recall that the Philippines has not seen fit to criminalize homosexual conduct. Evidently, therefore, these “generally accepted public morals” have not been convincingly transplanted into the realm of law.

From the standpoint of the political process, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender have the same interest in participating in the party-list system on the same basis as other political parties similarly situated. State intrusion in this case is equally burdensome. Hence, laws of general application should apply with equal force to LGBTs, and they deserve to participate in the party-list system on the same basis as other marginalized and under-represented sectors.

As such, we hold that moral disapproval, without more, is not a sufficient governmental interest to justify exclusion of homosexuals from participation in the party-list system. The denial of Ang Ladlad’s registration on purely moral grounds amounts more to a statement of dislike and disapproval of homosexuals, rather than a tool to further any substantial public interest.

We do not doubt that a number of our citizens may believe that homosexual conduct is distasteful, offensive, or even defiant. They are entitled to hold and express that view. On the other hand, LGBTs and their supporters, in all likelihood, believe with equal fervor that relationships between individuals of the same sex are morally equivalent to heterosexual relationships. They, too, are entitled to hold and express that view. However, as far as this Court is concerned, our democracy precludes using the religious or moral views of one part of the community to exclude from consideration the values of other members of the community.

I’m so happy I could burst! But the fight is not yet over. The next step is to help Ang Ladlad campaign so that they can get just enough votes to have at least one representative in Congress. Remember that Ang Ladlad is #89 on the ballot. So, won’t you vote for them?

Anyway, I’d like to mention that I have been debating this Ang Ladlad-COMELEC issue with an orthodox Catholic guy on his blog. He posted an article back in November praising the COMELEC’s resolution to disqualify Ang Ladlad and I engaged in a discussion insisting that while the Catholic Church can indeed discriminate against the LGBT sector, the Philippines, as a secular nation, can and must not. In the end, he had to fall back on that single mention of “Almighty God” in the preamble of the Philippine Constitution to buttress his argument that the Philippines ought to embrace Christian ideals.

As I expected, he recently posted an article decrying the Supreme Court’s decision. Again, I rebutted his points. I have no illusion of changing his mind, but I do hope that he can concede the point that even if he thinks that the Supreme Court’s decision is immoral, that it is still, objectively speaking, quite legal. I do hope that I was able to project a high level of discourse. :-) Anyway, he called on the Catholic faithful to rise up to battle:

With the Supreme courts decision in favor of LADLAD, we have lost a battle and not a war. I am calling on the Church Militant. Arise from your slumber. Awake! The war is on! Let us recover the word “militant” from the the militant Left. Beat your ploughshares into swords and join in this battle of ideas. The future of Philippine Christianity is at stake! Fire! Foes! Awake!

And to that, I say, “Bring it on!”


Anonymous wrote on April 10, 2010 at 10:55 PM:

The only "agenda" Ang LADLAD have is to be politically enfranchised and recognised as a group with a legitimate representation as a sector. High time that the SC acted on higher moral ground than the COMELEC. As far as I am concerned, this notion of a negative (or worse, sinister) gay agenda is a spillover from political homophobia in the US. I doubt if Ang LADLAD will be anti-family in any manner, nor will it simply take a contrarian stance to anything the conservatives (if they do exist) will espouse simply because of mere opposition.

I'm sure that not all members of Ang LADLAD will easily fall in the left or right of center sides of the political spectrum, but I hope that they will represent a changing attitude towards the LGBT community as a whole in the Philippines.

I suppose that in some happier future, the LGBT will be properly represented by the mainline parties, as has happened in Germany where the current Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition partner, Guido Westerwelle, is an openly gay man whose gender identity did not raise any eyebrows in the last elections there. As a result of his party's gains, he became Germany's Foreign Minister.

Vince (Discreet Manila) wrote on April 11, 2010 at 4:18 PM:

@Anon, let's hope that that happy future comes.

Anonymous wrote on April 13, 2010 at 12:32 AM:

SC Decision elates me dude! though, I cant celebrate, discreet nga eh. iboboto ko na lang. lol!

Anonymous wrote on April 18, 2010 at 8:11 PM:

"The future of Philippine Christianity is at stake!"

-"Christianity" in the said sentence should be construed as only to include those who are bigots. After all, many of the members of the LGBT sector are Christians too, and many if not most of the Christians are tolerant and open-minded.

Vince (Discreet Manila) wrote on April 20, 2010 at 2:07 AM:

@Anon (Apr 13), yup basta iboto mo lang, ok na iyon.

@Anon (Apr 18), quite true. Hopefully enough of them will vote for Ang Ladlad, right? :-)

Ace wrote on May 9, 2010 at 11:59 PM:

Fitting that I read all this on the eve of the 2010 elections.

What irked me most in the "christian-terrorist's" blog was the idea that democracy was a Christian idea. The nerve. True, the idea was first entertained in Christian Europe, but it was by no means solely because of authors who happened to align themselves to Christian ideology. I would even argue it was more the inevitable result of societal progress. Humanity was bound to at least think about the constructs of democracy as it got past war and strife.

His pointing out that an impending Sharia integration in Netherlands as apocalyptic is shooting himself on the foot. While his basis is that Sharia equals evil, one can easily argue that integrating Church law into Philippine government is exactly the same thing. Wasn't it the Church who participated in the blood bath that was the crusades? Wasn't it the Church who ruled the dark ages in Europe and benefited from the people's despair? Isn’t the Church now in question because of the admitted (but hidden from the deserving public until now) sexual abuses? Not to equate Christianity to evil as he did with Sharia, but to imply the Church is pure of all sin and sinister is downright immature and hypocritical. Again, the nerve.

Although I admit a tremendous amount of bias with this next statement (also with an equally tremendous attempt at objectivity), I must say your rebuttals were amazing. I loved your discussions of the Philippine constitution and more so your display of logic. Well written, well done!

Vince (Discreet Manila) wrote on May 11, 2010 at 12:05 AM:

@Ace, salamat! *blush* :-D