Just last night, Tatin asked me who I was voting for Senators in the upcoming Philippines elections. I said I was only sure about voting for Risa Hontiveros. (If you really believe in someone who you think I should consider, kindly leave a comment.)
Her question made me look up a web version of GMA News’ forum with senatorial candidates last Sunday, wherein the aspirants were asked about their stand on some of the pressing issues in the world and in the country today.
On same-sex marriage, only one candidate is categorically for it: Jack Enrile. Unfortunately, I’m against voting for anyone who is the son/daughter/sister/brother/nephew/niece/first-degree cousin of any former/incumbent senator, vice president, and president because there are a million Filipinos and surely, we can put other talented, honest, hardworking, and smart people in the Senate. (We can and yet, we won’t, if surveys are to be believed.)
To me, as with most concerns, this is really a black-and-white issue. You may be undecided for now—that’s understandable—but what I don’t understand is candidates who seem to be vacillating when asked to make a categorical stand on such issues as same-sex marriage.
Like Risa Hontiveros. In the GMA report, Risa is categorized under ‘No Stand,’ with the explanation, “Kailangan muna siguro natin ng isang anti-discrimination law.” (“Perhaps, we need an anti-discrimination law first.”)
Having known Risa’s stand and views on most issues I care about, I know she means well for the LGBT community despite that answer.
In her Twitter account, she says this:
… which to me, is not a categorical statement and only confuses me. Ano ba talaga? Though I’m sure she has a logical and reasonable explanation; will try to look for it later.
Keep your religion to yourself
As for the rest of the candidates, some seem to have a hang up with the term, “marriage.” To generalize and interpret their feelings about it, they think it is wrong for God to bless their marriage.
Such senators are obviously so clouded by their own religious biases that they do not consider other religious institutions’ stand on the issue. For one, marriage is not exclusively Roman Catholic. Second, Christian denominations that perform legal same-sex weddings include the Episcopal Church of the United States, the United Church of Canada, the United Church of Christ, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church In America.
These are legal marriages, blessed by the God they believe in.
So when candidates like Dick Gordon say, “Tayo’y ginawa ng Diyos na [ang] pag-aasawa [ay] para magkaroon ka ng anak, procreation, para magkaroon ka ng happiness” (“We were created by God to have a child, for procreation, for you to be happy”) it’s really just him asserting his own religious biases, while dismissing others’.
Those who are for civil partnership but are against gay marriage due to what I believe to be their religious biases but what they say to be due to Constitutional restrictions are: Sonny Angara (implied), Bam Aquino, and Loren Legarda.
Teddy Casiño and Gringo Honasan prefer to study the issue some more or present it for public debate.
Those who seem to have homophobic undertones with their either succinct or overwrought explanations are: Binay, Estrada, Gordon, Jun Magsaysay, Pimentel, and Villanueva.
Some choice statements:
Estrada: “We are still a Catholic nation. If we look at the Bible, the marriage of two persons is always man and woman. It’s always been Adam and Eve. Wala namang Adan at Adan. Wala ring Eba at Eba.“
This is a person who recently guested in Magandang Gabi, Vice to sing and dance and promote his candidacy; ergo, you cannot allow gays to marry, but you may use them to advance your personal ambition.
Jun Magsaysay: “I don’t think that’s a marriage. They can just live together if they want. No need to flaunt it.”
Pimentel: “I think that is a joke of a proposal.”
Villanueva: “… pagdating sa marriage of same sex, sabi ng Good Book, huwag gayahin ‘yung nangyari sa Sodom and Gomorrah dahil darating ang paggunaw sa isang bansa pag ‘yun ay ginawa.”
While these are the responses that to me, border on comedic:
Escudero: “Hindi pa napapanahon ‘yan sa ating bansa. Maaring dumating ang panahon na mapayagan ‘yan pero sa ngayon, hindi… sa pananaw ko lang hindi pa napapanahon at hindi pa handa ang Pilipino at kultura natin na tanggapin yun.”
Maceda: “It is not the time for that.”
Villar: “Siguro hindi pa. Too advanced, too modern sa ating society.”
That’s a great idea! Let’s not move this nation forward because we don’t want to be too advanced or too modern!
Meanwhile, this is in a category of its own: stupidity.
Cojuangco: “… let them decide what they want to do. I don’t want to interfere in the lives of others.”
Then why are you running for a legislative post?
By the way, I excluded from this list those who are not even a blip in our national consciousness, such as Alcantara, Belgica, David, Delos Reyes, and Montaño because thank God, they seem to be bigots too.
I may still vote for Risa, though I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed. Looks like I will have a very clean ballot on Election Day, with the Ladlad party list as my only sure vote.