Several hundred people turned out for the Metro Manila Pride in the Philippine capital on Saturday to celebrate a US Supreme Court decision recognizing gay marriages in all US states and to push for LGBT rights locally.
The leadership of the Philippines’ dominant Roman Catholic church, which has fiercely opposed gay marriages along with divorce and artificial contraceptives, stressed its opposition to legalizing gay marriage in the country.
‘The Church continues to maintain what it has always taught. Marriage is a permanent union of man and woman,’ said Archbishop Socrates Villegas, the president of the influential Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.
The Philippine government also affirmed that under the law, marriage is between a man and a woman.
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr said on state-run radio on Sunday that same-sex marriages contracted by Filipinos abroad are not recognized in the Philippines.
He also added that only an act of Congress – and not the courts – can change the law unlike in the United States.
Jonas Bagas, executive director of Manila-based LGBT rights group TLF Share, says he believes the US court ruling ‘will reverberate in other corners of the world.’
However he hopes the ‘struggle for equality can be reframed to go beyond marriage equality so that we can address other dehumanizing situations that LGBTs encounter.’
Pressure from the Catholic church delayed the passing of a law to allow for wider distribution of contraceptives for 15 years before it was finally passed in 2014. The Southeast Asian country in the only country besides the Vatican that still outlaws divorce.