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PROGAY supports US Supreme Court approval of marriage equality

By PROGAY Philippines
June 26, 2013

QUEZON CITY – The Progressive Organization of Gays in the Philippines (ProGay) lauded today's landmark decision on two cases brought before the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) to bestow equal rights to American same couples in 12 states and the District of Columbia to enjoy marriage rights, adding that much remains to be done before full equality can be guaranteed for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) citizens in other states where there is still no legal rights to marry.

ProGay said the decision to honor family rights to same sex couples by declaring the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as unconstitutional is historic and auspiciously timed with the 44th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising of New York City, the LGBT community's watershed event in the street battles for gay rights. DOMA was passed 17 years ago by Congress under the presidency of President Bill Clinton and defined marriage as a union of a man and a woman.

"The SCOTUS rulings can inspire LGBTs and their allies in many countries around the world to advance human rights," said Clyde Pumihic, spokesperson of ProGay, which is preparing for a gay pride parade this week in Baguio City to mark the 19th year of the first pride march in Asia and the Philippines.

The SCOTUS also dismissed Proposition 8, California’s same-sex marriage ban which reinstates marriage equality for 18,000 couples wed in 2007 and all other couples who plan to marry. Both rulings provide many legal benefits including tax breaks, hospital visitation rights, and parenting choices.

ProGay congratulated the American LGBT community as same sex couples can have more legal basis to repeal unequal laws in 50 states, especially California, which can now marry gays next month. "Marriage equality will not ruin heterosexual marriages and family, and in fact will even strengthen marriage."

ProGay also expressed regret that the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines or CBCP is exerting political influence in getting a popular gay-themed soap opera "My Husband's Lover" suspended by the country's television review board. "Our dear bishops should appreciate that the moral of that TV show is about letting gay men make correct decisions to love their fellow gay men and not be forced into loveless marriages enforced by culture."

Philippine LGBT rights activists have been fighting for two decades now for legal rights, and has been pushing for the enactment in Congress of a law that bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.