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Gay rights groups appeal Comelec ruling

Posted on: November 26, 2009

Gay rights groups appeal Comelec ruling

By Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 21:31:00 11/25/2009

Filed Under: Politics, Elections, Eleksyon 2010, Gender Issues

MANILA, Philippines—Gay party list advocates, headed by party list Ang Ladlad, stormed the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday, appealing that the party list be accredited to join the 2010 elections.

Danton Remoto, head of Ang Ladlad, was emotional during the rally while joining the chant “I’m moral” as a mockery to the Comelec second division that disqualified the group on grounds of “immorality” for advocating intimate and sexual relations between lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBTs), thus, considered a threat to the youth.

“Namatay ang nanay at tatay ko pero kahit kailan hindi ako naging imoral na anak (My father and mother just died recently but they never had an immoral son),” said the teary-eyed Remoto.

The former UN official and Ateneo de Manila professor told INQUIRER.net that his group filed an appeal last week with the Comelec en banc headed by chairman Jose Melo, seeking to reverse the second division’s ruling that disqualified them for the 2010 national and local elections.

Akbayan Representative Etta Rosales also slammed the Comelec division’s ruling for disqualifying Ladlad, saying: “This is bigotry on part of Comelec, it reminds us of 17th century.”

“The advocacy for intimate sexual relations reflected that “petitioner [Ang Ladlad] tolerates immorality, which offends religious beliefs. This petition is dismissible on moral grounds,” said Commissioner and second division presiding officer Nicodemo Ferrer when the resolution junking Ang Ladlad’s accreditation was promulgated.

Remoto said “magladlad”, in Filipino, means to unfurl the cape that used to cover one’s body as a shield. It means to come out of the closet, to assert one’s human rights as equal to that of the next Filipino.

The group’s appeal is to ensure that their disqualification would not be cited in future cases.

“We are fighting for our political and constitutional rights because if we don’t, this becomes a binding case that could be cited in the future and we don’t want that to happen. As what former human rights chief Rene Saguisag said in his appeal, ‘there shall be no test for the exercise of civil and political rights,’” Remoto said.

He added Comelec officials should not mix religious from secular morality as public servants since the country has no “state religion.”

“Majority of LGBTs in the country are marginalized in terms of economics and are under-represented in the country. They say that there are gays in Congress and Senate but despite that, they do not advocate or fight for our rights so we wanted to gain representation because it is our civil and political right,” he said.

Remoto said he was informed by Comelec spokesman James Jimenez that the en banc will meet soon to tackle the motion for reconsideration of Ang Ladlad.

He discussed the possibility of filing a manifestation to participate in the party list system of representation pending the decision on their appeal, provided that they have a waiver stating they would withdraw from the elections if they do not get accredited.

Joining Ang Ladlad and Akbayan in the rally are the Lesbian Advocates of the Philippines, Society of Transexuals of the Philippines, It’s OK to be Gay, UP Babaylan and Likhaan.

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