SC same-sex marriage petition: First step in a long road ahead

Like the RH bill, this first Supreme Court petition will bring the topic of same-sex marriage to the table. Even if initial responses will definitely be negative, the continuing coverage of LGBT issues will require Filipinos to decide which side of history they're on. Families will be pushed to discuss it with their children, and young people will have to reflect on their own experiences with (or as part of) LGBT couples and determine where they stand on this issue. 

Evolve or become obsolete 

At the very least, LGBT youth will see that there are lawyers, activists, and advocates who are willing to come out and put their reputation and careers on the line for the idea that all Filipinos deserve equal protection under law. It may inspire them to challenge existing laws. It may push Filipino same-sex couples married in other countries to question why the Philippines rejects their marriage. 

As in the RH bill, debates about same-sex marriage will expose the bigots and religious fanatics among our lawmakers, and we will once again see the most ridiculous comments from the most prominent personalities. A big plus of aiming the spotlight on pivotal topics is that we'll also see our favorite politicians become the laughing stock of our younger and more informed generation.

In our immediate surroundings we will see our friends and family members either evolve in their ideas or get left behind and be considered obsolete by their younger counterparts. Like it or not, it is the children and teens around us who will inevitably lead this conversation when it eventually comes to a head.  

A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step

In 1970, two male college students applied for a marriage license in MinnesotaUSA – an act that was then considered a useless political performance. However, this initiative became one of the foundations of the modern movement for marriage equality. Those gay activist student plaintiffs are now considered heroes of the successful same-sex marriage movement in the US. (They are also still together, 45 years later.) 

When popular variety shows in the Philippines employ senators who urge LGBT parents to stay in the closet for their children's sake, and homosexuality is still considered shameful and deserving of discrimination, a move such as Falcis' petition to the Supreme Court is a brave act that will be remembered for decades to come.

The struggle may very well move at a pace slower than a snail's. Realistically, I may not even see the legalization of same-sex marriage in my lifetime. But it doesn't matter. As long and as difficult as this road may be, the journey has already started for marriage equality in the Philippines.

Whether its opponents like it or not, this first step cannot be undone. The resulting discussions cannot be silenced. The Philippines cannot keep its citizens' eyes and ears closed forever, or keep its brave young souls in the dark.

“But progress comes from changes in laws. In many places, including my own country, legal protections have preceded, not followed, broader recognition of rights. Laws have a teaching effect. Laws that discriminate validate other kinds of discrimination. Laws that require equal protections reinforce the moral imperative of equality. And practically speaking, it is often the case that laws must change before fears about change dissipate." – Hillary Clinton, during a speech to the United Nations on LGBT rights. –