US Supreme Court: Same-sex marriage is a right

Ripples of the landmark decision of the US Supreme Court upholding same-sex couple’s right to marry have covered the entire world specially online. In a vote of 5-to-4 the Justices have ruled that the US Constitution grants same-sex couples the right to get married in all 50 states. A resounding victory for the gay rights movement. The New York Times has a good breakdown of the decision which highlights opinions from the Justices who dissented in the case.

No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.

As the LGBT community celebrate this historic victory, observers have taken notice of the decision’s ramifications both to US domestic issues but to other countries that are faced with the same controversial issue of gay rights. The Atlantic has a good rundown of how the decision would have an impact in the US – changes to adoption laws, religious freedom and more importantly, what it means to oppose gay rights.

Here in the Philippines, a growing LGBT community has been working for more recognition for their rights. The last time the issue of gay rights have been debated on the national level was when the Ang Ladlad party-list was disqualified by the COMELEC based on religious and moral grounds during the 2010 national elections. The case was brought to the Supreme Court which ruled in favor of Ang Ladlad because of the COMELEC’s reliance on the Bible and Koran in their decision, not a recognition of gay rights.

Last May, openly-gay lawyer Jesus Nicardo Falcis III filed a petition in the Supreme Court to strike down provisions of the Family Code that prohibit same-sex marriage. The case is still pending before the High Court but given that our justice system follows or uses the rulings of the US Supreme Court as a precedent or reference in deciding cases as our democratic and government institutions and laws are patterned after theirs, it’s interesting to see how the case will develop and how our own Supreme Court will decide now that American counterparts have crossed this bridge.

The debate for LGBT rights have always remained on the sidelines for years, now that the US has joined other countries in allowing same-sex marriage, will the Philippines follow suit soon?

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