MANILA, Philippines – Following United States President Barack Obama’s public endorsement of same-sex marriage, gay groups in the country called for the passage of a bill against homophobia.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activists led by Ladlad, Gabriela and the Metropolitan Community Church are urging Congress to pass House Bill 4635, which declares May 17 as the “National Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia,” which is an irrational fear of homosexuals.
The bill, filed by Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Teddy Casiño last year, aims to defend LGBT rights.
The LGBT activists recently visited the House of Representatives in Quezon City and held a mock wedding ceremony as they pushed for the legal recognition of same-sex partnerships.
In a statement released by Progay Philippines, a gay rights group, Casiño said Congress should also pass his House Bill 1483 or the Anti-Discrimination Bill.
He also asked President Benigno Aquino III to take a look at reports filed by activist groups on alleged human rights violations suffered by LGBTs in the country, as well as train police and government officials on how to properly interact with homosexuals.
“The government must take a proactive struggle against homophobia and transphobia by including LGBTs not only in legislation but in actual everyday government planning and project implementation. This is the first step but not the only step if the Philippines wants to achieve zero level homophobia and transphobia according to global standards,” he said.
Last week, Malacañang said it is not following Obama’s lead on the subject of gay marriage.
Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the US has a different milieu compared to the Philippines, noting that same-sex marriage is an election issue there.
He said the definition of marriage in the Family Code of the Philippines is clear – that it is a union of a man and a woman.