Baguio to declare married LGBTs 'unwelcome'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 28 2011 07:13 PM | Updated as of Jun 30 2011 06:43 AM

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines - Baguio City officials plan to declare persona non grata or "unwelcome persons" the 8 gay and lesbian couples who got "married" in the city last Saturday.

The city council will investigate the wedding ceremony on Monday and identify those who took part in it, according to Councilor Richard Cariño.

The results of the probe will determine if those who got married will be declared persona non grata, he added.

"Ang basis natin para gawing persona non grata ang isang tao ay kung may nilabag silang batas, sagabal sila, kontra sa prinsipyo at ordinansa at oppressive ang kanilang ginawa o ginagawa sa paningin ng mga tao," Cariño said. "Kaya we have to investigate kung yung ginawang pagpapakasal ay oppressive sa community ng Baguio."

Another city councilor, Edison Bilog, supported Cariño's proposal.

Happy couple

Despite receiving flak, couple Bhaya dela Cruz and Shielo Sabaot said they are happy with their wedding.

They said their family and friends were also elated with their decision.

"Bahala na sila kung ikukulong kami kung may mali ba ... kung may maifi-file sila," dela Cruz said.

"Wala namang kaming ginawang masama basta mahal ninyo ang dalawa," said Sabaot.

A lawyer, meanwhile, said the weddings are not legal and those who took part in it can't write on official documents that they are already married.

Possible charges

The couples who got wed and those who officiated the ceremony also face raps, said lawyer Edgar Avila.

One of the 4 pastors who wed the couples, meanwhile, challenged religious leaders and city officials.

"We dare them to do that [file charges]," said Myke Sotero, pastor of the Metropolitan community church in Baguio.

He said they did nothing wrong and the wedding celebrated the love between people.

Sotero said the government should support weddings between gay and lesbian couples.

His statement drew an angry response from Bishop Carlito Cenzon of the diocese of Baguio.

"They say they are evangelical pero they are doing things against the church. They are making bad image [out of] the church," he said.

Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, meanwhile, stood firm in their stand to continue with the same-sex weddings in other parts of the country. - Report from Ada Sibayan, ABS-CBN News North Luzon