While this is a serious matter involving rights and representation, one cannot help but be amused to see the list of supporters for Ang Ladlad, which is composed of “lesbians, gays, bisexuals, or trans-gendered individuals.” They sport names like, the Aklan Butterfly Brigade (ABB), which should put to shame the violent ABB assassination group, the Boys Legion, Cagayan de Oro People Like Us or “CDO PLUS”, Can’t Live in the Closet, Inc. or “CLIC” and Society of Transexual Women of the
or “STRAP.” Philippines
Ang Ladlad had filed a petition for registration as a party-list organization under Republic Act No. 7941. The Petition was dismissed by the COMELEC on moral grounds, citing both the Bible and the Kuran:
“x x x This Petition is dismissible on moral grounds. Petitioner defines the Filipino Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Community, thus:
x x x a marginalized and under-represented sector that is particularly disadvantaged because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
and proceeded to define sexual orientation as that which:
x x x refers to a person’s capacity for profound emotional, affectional and sexual attraction to, and intimate and sexual relations with, individuals of a different gender, of the same gender, or more than one gender.”
This definition of the LGBT sector makes it crystal clear that petitioner tolerates immorality which offends religious beliefs. In Romans 1:26, 27, Paul wrote:
For this cause God gave them up into vile affections, for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.
In the Koran, the hereunder verses are pertinent:
For ye practice your lusts on men in preference to women “ye are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds.” (7.81) “And we rained down on them a shower (of brimstone): Then see what was the end of those who indulged in sin and crime!” (7:84) “He said: “O my Lord! Help Thou me against people who do mischief” (29:30).”
The COMELEC likewise cited provisions of the New Civil and Revised Penal Codes on decency or morality and good customs (Article 1306 and 1409, New Civil Code and Article 201, RPC).
Ang Ladlad filed a petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court which overturned the COMELEC’s rulings. The High Court held that it is not a requirement that only the sectors enumerated in the party list law (RA 7941) are to be registered under the party list system. Moreover, there was a violation of the prohibition against the establishment of a religion as provided for in Article III, Section 5 that “[n]o law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” There must be “government neutrality in religious matters.” The COMELEC’s reliance on the Bible and the Koran to justify the exclusion of Ang Ladlad violated this prohibition.
There was likewise a violation of the equal protection clause by the COMELEC’S targeting of homosexuals “as a class, not because of any particular morally reprehensible act.” And that the COMELEC made “an unwarranted and impermissible classification not justified by the circumstances of the case.” The right to freedom of expression was likewise violated to the extent that the COMELEC’s action had precluded Ang Ladlad “from publicly expressing its views as a political party and participating on an equal basis in the political process with other equally-qualified party-list candidates xxx.”
Allowing Ang Ladlad’s registration is in consonance with the country’s international obligations to “protect and promote human rights” particularly the “principle of non-discrimination as it relates to the right to electoral participation, enunciated in the UDHR and the ICCPR.”
What the COMELEC sought to bar on moral grounds was allowed by the High Court on Constitutional grounds. It does not appear that Ang Ladlad won a seat during the recently concluded elections. There is a joke that goes that the LGBT community is already well-represented anyway in Congress, except that no one wants to acknowledge his or her membership in this group.
The right to participate in the elections was a hard-earned victory for the LGBT community. And they might soon find themselves not only out of the closet and before the courts but in Congress as well. Then we might just see one big coming out party, maybe even a parade to boot.