MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court on Thursday approved the petition of Ang Ladlad group to represent lesbians, gays, homosexuals, and bisexuals (LGBT) as a party-list group in the May 10 elections.
In a decision penned by Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo, the Supreme Court overturned the decision of the Commission on Elections disqualifying Ang Ladlad's application as a party-list group.
The court said the Comelec erred in its decision to deny Ang Ladlad's accreditation as a party-list group based on moral grounds.It said the poll body failed to explain "what societal ills are sought to be prevented, or why special protection is required for the youth" to justify the denial of accreditation of Ang Ladlad.
"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," the decision read.
It added: "Respondent’s blanket justifications give rise to the inevitable conclusion that the Comelec targets homosexuals themselves as a class, not because of any particular morally reprehensible act. It is this selective targeting that implicates our equal protection clause."
The Supreme Court said its role in deciding the case "is not to impose its own view of acceptable behavior. Rather, it is to apply the Constitution and laws as best as it can, uninfluenced by public opinion, and confident in the knowledge that our democracy is resilient enough to withstand vigorous debate."