Friday, November 13, 2009

WTF: Comelec says gay party 'immoral'

Report by Kristine Servando

MANILA - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday rejected Ang Ladlad for party-list accreditation on the grounds that the party advocates "sexual immorality" and "immoral doctrines."

Ang Ladlad is an organization of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBT).

In a ruling dated November 11, the Comelec said that although the party presented proper documents and evidence for their accreditation, their petition is "dismissable on moral grounds."

Page 5 of the ruling states that Ang Ladlad's definition of the LGBT sector as a marginalized sector who are disadvantaged because of their sexual orientation "makes it crystal clear that the petitioner tolerates immorality which offends religious beliefs."

The document quotes passages from both the Bible and the Koran (taken from internet site that describe homosexuality as "unseemly" or "transgressive."

The Comelec goes on to state that accrediting Ang Ladlad would pose risks for Filipino youth.

"Should this Commission grant the petition, we will be exposing our youth to an environment that does not conform to the teachings of our faith," the ruling stated.

'Gays are threats to youth'

This statement is followed by a quote by preacher Lehman Strauss published in a website saying "older practicing homosexuals are a threat to the youth."

The Comelec said it is "not condemning" the LGBT community but "cannot compromise the well-being of a great number of people."

The document was signed by Commissioners Nicodemo Ferrer, Lucenito Tagle, and Elias Yusoph.

Ang Ladlad also applied for party-list accreditation in 2007, but was denied this due to the lack of regional membership in the Philippines.

'Painfully obsolete ideas'

Danton Remoto, President of Ang Ladlad, told in a phone interview that they will contest the Comelec ruling before the Supreme Court.

"This is a decision of painfully old men with painfully obsolete ideas on homosexuality. We are in the 21st century already, we are fighting for human rights. They do not know what they are talking about," he said.

Remoto, who taught literature at the Jesuit-run Ateneo de Manila University for over 20 years, criticized the Comelec's allegation that older homosexuals are threats to the youth.

"How would I have stayed in the country's premier exclusive Catholic school (Ateneo) if I were a threat to the youth?" he stated as an example.

He also took issue against the Comelec ruling's frequent citation of internet-sourced reports, saying that a legal document should at least use primary sourcing. Remoto said this spoke of "intellectual bankruptcy" among Comelec officials.

Remoto said that the Comelec ruling is offensive to the LGBT community and an insult to their human rights.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez, however, said he does not consider the Comelec's dismissal of Ang Ladlad's petition for party-list accrediation as a human rights issue.

"They might bring it up because they might feel offended of being called immoral. In that case, it's their right to bring whatever action is deemed necessary," he told in a phone interview.

He added that the right to be voted for is not absolute and is subject to reasonable regulation.

Immoral institution?

Remoto also questioned the Comelec's decision to deny the party's accreditation based on moral and religious reasons since the Constitution provides for separation between the Church and State.

"Since when did the Comelec become a moral arbiter? The Comelec is a state institution, [it is] not the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines," he said.

"The Comelec has no right to make decisions on morality because it is not a moral or religious institution. It is a political institution, and hence, should confine itself to politics," Remoto added.

Jimenez said it is standard for the Comelec to consider what each party-list stands for before accrediting them.

He cited the case of the Samahang Magdalo, a reformist group led by detained mutineers, who were denied party-list accreditation on the grounds that they "advocated violence."

The Ang Ladlad is requesting help from the Ateneo Human Rights Center in filing a motion for reconsideration before the Comelec, before raising the issue to the Supreme Court, where Remoto believes the party may have "some hope."

All is not lost for Remoto and his crusade for LGBT rights, however, since he announced plans to run for Senator in 2010 "under a big political party." He will make a formal announcement in 2 weeks.

Should the Comelec approve his candidacy, he will be the first openly gay senatorial candidate in recent history.

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Lyka Bergen said...

Hypocrites! Bigots! Ignoramus! Leche sila!

Kiks said...

if comelec would be our measuring stick for morality, all of us should go to hell.

except for those whose orders they follow. those whom they consider their gods. those who hold them in the necks, the pockets and their puny little genitalia.

grrr. the homophobes are having a field day today. tomorrow, all bayots, lezzies and those who cannot seem to get out of the closet, let's have a field trip all around town starting 12MN tonight!

Anonymous said...

Remember Pluralism (Part 1 of 2)

Cock-fighting is considered by its adherents as a sport, but there is no denying the presence of organized gambling at cock-fighting events. A group of these sought party-list accreditation too, and though they were denied on a technicality, there's nothing preventing them from trying again in future elections. In the interest of even-handedness in judging whether the cock-fighting groups be allowed to run, should not the morals of Christianity and Islam also be considered by the Comelec on this group when they file their papers anew, and thus, also be denied?

For this reason, Islam prohibits oppression, usury, monopoly, cheating, theft, lying, backbiting, bearing false witness, cursing, bribery, homicide, gambling, and spreading immoral ideas and ideology. This secures the health of both the individual and society. (from Social Obligation in Islam).

As Italy's national lottery jackpot reached a record level of $183 million, an Italian bishop warned that the gambling fever was a form of idolatry. (from Catholic News Service).

What if prostitutes seek Congressional representation? What does the Bible and the Qur'an say about that, and would the Comelec use their verses again?

Further, given that this can of worms has been opened, shouldn't the Comelec retroactively apply the morals of these two religions in assessing the worthiness of all previously accredited party-list groups?

Why use the tenets of Christianity and Islam to judge the rights of groups seeking party-list accreditation? Such defeats the goal that representation like this is based upon. Seeking one's voice to be heard, a right guaranteed constitutionally, is rooted in our society's pluralism, the belief in the principle that one has an open mind to listen to other ideas as long as proper respect is given to everyone in the voicing of those ideas. One may not agree with what another is saying, but our society, in its ideal form, has to defend the right of everyone to say what they need to say, even in the face of the inevitable objections to such. Stoppering it, the way the Comelec has done while hiding behind the skirts of religion, hits at the very root of what government representation has sworn to uphold.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Remember Pluralism (Part 1 of 2)

On the grounds of "immorality", as based on the Bible and the Qur'an, the LGBT sector in the Philippines was denied party-list accreditation in Congress by the Comelec.

"Would ye really approach men in your lusts rather than women? Nay, ye are a people (grossly) ignorant! (The Noble Quran, 27:55)"

Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said, 'Abd al-Rahman, the son of Abu Sa'id al-Khudri, reported from his father: The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: "A man should not see the private parts of another man, and a woman should not see the private parts of another woman, and a man should not lie with another man under one covering, and a woman should not lie with another woman under one covering. (Translation of Sahih Muslim, The Book of Menstruation (Kitab Al-Haid), Book 003, Number 0667)"

Leviticus 18:6 reads: "You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female. It is an abomination." A similar verse occurs two chapters later, in Leviticus 20:13: "A man who sleeps with another man is an abomination and should be executed."
If lechon dealers were to seek party-list accreditation, should they not also be denied? After all, both the Bible and the Qur'an cite the pig's inherent uncleanliness, and their dealing with pigs in their businesses makes these dealers immoral and unclean also.

“Say (O Muhammad): I find not in that which has been revealed to me anything forbidden to be eaten by one who wishes to eat it, unless it be Maytah (a dead animal) or blood poured forth (by slaughtering or the like), or the flesh of swine (pork); for that surely, is impure or impious (unlawful) meat (of an animal) which is slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allaah (or has been slaughtered for idols, or on which Allaah’s Name has not been mentioned while slaughtering) [al-An’aam 6:145]
Deuteronomy 14:8 says, "Also, you may not eat pigs. (Although their hoofs are divided, they don't chew their cud.) Never eat their meat or touch their dead bodies."


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