MANILA, Philippines– While petitioner Jesus Falcis and his legal team faced intense interpellation during the oral arguments to legalize same-sex marriage at the Supreme Court on Tuesday, June 19, they remained optimistic the efforts of their team will result to victory for the Lesbians, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) movement in the country. (READ: Your guide to the Supreme Court oral arguments on same-sex marriage)
In an ambush interview conducted after the court had adjourned, Darwin Angeles, Falcis’ co-counsel, said that the petition has already achieved its own victory, regardless of the SC’s decision.
“No matter what happens today or what happens to this case, it will be on some level a victory for the movement. Why? It […] will cause ripples throughout,” Angeles said.
Associate Justice Marvic Leonen questioned Falcis on the timing of the petition, fearing the implications and damage it may bring to the LGBT movement. Falcis assumed that Leonen was referring to a case in the United States where the push for same-sex marriage was denied in the courts, leading same-sex couples to be disallowed the right to marry until the SC granted the petition in 2015. “That could be the backward movement for the community for this case.” (READ: Is Timing Right For Same Sex Marriage? Leonin Warns of Risks)
“The [LGBT] movement can never be homogenous […] because […] the movement is big. There will be priorities for some sectors over the other,” Falcis added.
However, Falcis argued that the petition’s visibility would do more good than harm. “The nearest effect will probably be that there are Filipinos now who can hear that there are groups, straight or LGBT […] who say that being gay is okay, and that was a message that a lot of people did not hear in the past, because there was not a lot of opportunity to discuss why LGBT people are the way they are, and why they have rights.”
Supporters of the petition held a demonstration outside the Supreme Court while oral argumenents were ongoing. TV personality Boy Abunda was present at the opening of the oral arguments to show his support for the petition and the LGBT movement. (READ: #WeAreFamilyToo: LGBT groups push for marriage equality outside SC)
“Para sakin ang importante ay naumpisahan na ang paguusap. The conversation has now begun inside the Supreme Court,” Abunda said. (For, me what’s important is that discussion is now starting)
Still, turnout in the demonstration held outside the Supreme Court was low due to fears of public backlash and reactionary anti-LGBT sentiments in the Philippines.
While Falcis noted the need for normative change in the Philippines regarding societal views on LGBT individuals, Regie Paison, organizer for the demonstration held outside the Supreme Court, spotlighted the necessity for state recognition.
“Ang importante dito yung estado inirecognize o pumapayag doon sa kahilingan ng LGBT community na magkaroon ng same sex marriage.” (What’s important here is for the State to recognize or accept the wish of the LGBT community to have same-sex marriage) –Rappler.com
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