by Rex Wockner
International News Briefs
The Philippines’ Supreme Court on April 8 overruled the nation’s Elections Commission and ordered that the gay group Ang Ladlad can register as a political party and run candidates for Congress. The ruling was 14-1.
In blocking the group, the Elections Commission had said it is “crystal clear … that (Ang Ladlad) tolerates immorality which offends religious beliefs.”
“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 agency said.
Its determination went on to assert that the Bible and the Koran call homosexuality unseemly and transgressive.
But the Supreme Court was having none of it and ruled that Ang Ladlad had complied with all legal requirements for accreditation as a party-list group.
“(M)oral disapproval, without more, is not a sufficient governmental interest to justify exclusion of homosexuals from participation in the party-list system,” the court wrote. “The denial of Ang Ladlad’s registration on purely moral grounds amounts more to a statement of dislike and disapproval of homosexuals, rather than a tool to further any substantial public interest. … It is this selective targeting that implicates our equal protection clause.”
The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission commented, “The Philippines Supreme Court has sent a clear message that regardless of political affiliation, people cannot be excluded from the political process simply because of their identification with or support of the rights of LGBT people.”