The ugly backlash in America; What’s lacking in the Philippines?

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Monday, 3 August 2015 - Last Updated on August 7, 2015

lgbt8Okay, it is legal for gays and lesbians and transgenders to get married  anywhere in the United States. However, when the boss reads about it in the paper, it still is not illegal in most states for the boss to fire the LGBT who got married because “we don’t have that kind in our company…!!!”

Ever since the SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) decision that the US Constitution guarantees LGBT people the right to marry the person of their choice, I have been astounded at the number of reports of backlash, negative effects of what was expected to be a positive development.

Yes, here and there a beautiful story pops up of some loving person showing un-homophobic acceptance in an unexpected place

Let’s start with some of ugly backlash stories. Since this is not an academic report, I trust you will indulge me to remember stories without citing a source (boringly) every other line. Friends send me articles from all over the world.

I suppose it was predictable that people from a certain segment of society would call the decision an insult to God, “they have thumbed their nose to God.” But many went much further. I was caught in traffic yesterday for three hours (as were other persons I was supposed to meet with). But they did not have the consequences I had.

My taxi driver, noticing that I am a priest rattled on and on for three hours about what’s insane about every religion. First it was the devotees trampling to death their fellow devotees in Quiapo to kiss a statue. Then it was his wife’s born again pastor whose counseling is so insane that people who go to him for counseling have to go to a psychiatrist for healing from his counseling.

Well, all kinds of “insane” stuff is coming out of reactions to SCOTUS. I don’t think you want to hear details. I’ll just list a few.

The first was Fox television network moaning that America had become a “post-Christian nation.”

But it gets much worse than that. Future terrorist attacks will be directly related to this decision.

Destructive thunderstorms will result.  But worse, just like in Sodom, good people like the pastor who told the story, will be forced to have homosexual sex. “It will come out of this, I am already feeling it,” he said.

God will be so angry, there will be food shortages.  Churches will be crippled. The jails will be full of pastors thrown into cells for refusing to perform gay marriages.

It will lead to pro-God radio commentators being fired, children being taken away from parents, and from all this uproar, civil war will break out.

And so, Christianity will be criminalized and pedophilia will be legalized.

Enough of that. Jimmy Carter is sure Jesus would approve of the equal rights of LGBT people to love and marriage.  Of course Ellen Degeneres and Hilary Clinton said some wonderful things.

The Episcopalian and Presbyterian Churches affirmed their support for marriage equality.

The Huffington Post summed up some positive legal developments: “In a majority of the states, there are no protections against discrimination based on your sexual orientation or your gender identity.” And then they reported some stirrings in the US Congress.

Congressman Cicilline and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) are introducing sweeping legislation to give lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals the same civil rights protections as other Americans.

Their bill would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of already protected classes (race, color, sex, religion and national origin).

In other words, it would protect LGBT people from discrimination in credit, education, employment, housing, federal financial assistance, jury service and public accommodations. (Some states already have their own laws on the books.)

“We are way past the time that someone should be kicked out of a restaurant because of their sexual orientation or gender identity…We need to set the gold standard and simply say, ‘Discrimination is wrong. Equality and opportunity are right.’ And this bill is going to establish that,” the authors declared.

The Equality Act, as it’s titled, is a much broader follow-up to the 2013 Employment Non-Discrimination Act. That bill… would have outlawed workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. It passed the Senate, where Democrats were then in the majority, but Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) never brought it up for a vote in the House.


The Philippines?

Of course we don’t have marriage equality and we won’t have.  As the only country in the world (outside the mostly-celibate Vatican) which does not allow its citizens to divorce from the one they don’t love, it is not likely that it would ever allow the even more horrendous sin of LGBT people having equal rights to love the one they love.

(But, I couldn’t believe my ears, a news report today amazingly implied that Pope Francis considers divorced heterosexual people should not be subjected to excommunication. I never heard a pope go THAT far. I mention it here, thinking if he can say THAT, he might even someday say something promising about LGBT people loving the one they love.)lgbt9

But that’s not all.  Professor Danton Remoto, a columnist for the Philippine Star, a leading spokesperson for what many of us espouse and believe in with regard to LGBT rights, has written that we still have long ways to go.

Like most of America, all of the Philippines has no protection for any of its LGBT citizens. There is no anti-discrimination law after many years of efforts by a few valiant congress members to get one, but they were always thwarted by powerful bigoted people and lawmakers fearful of their electorates if they favor any bill which the “the church” opposes.

There is much to be done. There are competent and passionate activists with whom I have been working with for almost twenty years. The problem is LGBT are a minority. The opposition is in the majority. And, most of all, the opposition, and you know who that is, is well funded, and has access to millions of people (at Sunday Mass).

Professor Remoto has written a new book (“Happy na, Gay pa!” (Tungkol ba sa akin ito?! Chos!) on LGBT lifestyles.  He is optimistic. He reminds, “For those who discriminate against LGBTs, please remember that we are also citizens and taxpayers of this country. Look around you, and you will find LGBT brothers, or sisters, or relatives or family members or friends. We are everywhere. We are asking for equal rights, and not special rights.”

Mabuhay  tayong lahat! Para sa ekonomiya! Push!


Richard Mickley, OSAe, Coordinator, The Well Philippines


Photos by Eva Callueng. Some rights reserved.

Richard Mickley (84 Posts)

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