Love wins! The LGBT community celebrated love and marriage exemplified through the recent rainbow colored profile pictures trending on the internet. The United States’ highest court finally allowed same sex legal union across all 50 states!

A barrage of debates has been ongoing about same sex marriage. Homosexuals are the ones mostly in favor of the said ruling because they can finally be given equal rights and benefits previously granted to heterosexual married couples only. On the other hand, some religious and conservative communities reacted violently against such law.

EMPOWERING THE LGBT

I would initially think that such legalization of same sex marriages should be of no concern to me, but if I were a homosexual who would support same sex marriage, it would be because one of the best things about getting married is getting government benefits offered exclusively to “legally” married couples. Like any legal heterosexual couple, same sex couples could also benefit from joint property rights. Additionally, legal concerns such as inheritance and taxes that may include property-transfer tax will not be much of a hassle for them.  In the Philippines, for instance, some companies offer benefits that include medical and dental coverage to their employees and their dependents. If same-sex marriage were approved, the employee’s “legal” spouse can claim  the benefit. The same goes for pensions under the SSS, the GSIS, and even veterans’ pensions.

Not only will same-sex spouses rejoice for their legal benefits, they will also celebrate love and happiness as the new ruling could give them personal satisfaction. They can now love whomever their heart chooses regardless of the gender of their partner They can even celebrate their freedom of expression or freedom to express their identity and right to life, liberty, individual autonomy and security. Depriving them of their inherent human rights is unconstitutional because there should be equal protection under the state without discrimination or prejudice towards race, color, language, religion and even gender.  As the LGBT say, “Rainbow is the color of happiness” because no definite “color assignment” or even gender preference should let you be ostracized and discriminated.

ERADICATING THE STIGMA

Homosexuals aren’t the only ones that benefit from such a law. Being allowed to adopt kids could help save abandoned children. If homosexuals are discriminated less, assuming that such law truly resolves the stigma, then they could function better as individuals in a community. Without discrimination, they would be able to act more “normally” and even excel in their own field, contributing to the betterment of whole society. A peaceful life without getting prejudiced allows one not to worry and doubt too much, eventually enabling him to have an improved mental, psychological and social functioning. On a macro level, the LGBT community can contribute immensely to the betterment of the community, country and even the world – may it be in the world of arts, economics, politics  or academics.

This ruling actually sends a message to people, like you and me who aren’t directly involved in such, that a positive change in terms of equality among gender can benefit the society as a whole.

Although the LGBT community may feel that their rights are uplifted and discrimination has been abated to some extent through the new rule in the US, homosexuals in conservative and religious countries might experience backlash discrimination, like being denied of working in a religious organization, or being the topic of sermons or homilies wherein they are described as doing immoral acts and that same sex marriage shouldn’t really be a cause worth fighting for, besides the usual teasing when walking along streets or going to social events.

A CULTURAL BACKLASH

In a country where Christianity is the major religion, it would really be difficult to pass a law that would cater to same sex marriage. Same sex marriage is considered to be immoral by certain religions such as Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Man was not made for another man and woman was not made for another woman, according to the Bible as stated in 1 Timothy 1:9-10 (English Standard Version): “… men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine.” In the Quran it also says that “You practice sex with the men, instead of the women. Indeed, you are a transgressing people.” Orthodoxy and tradition would tell you that same sex marriage is “evil” and that you should avoid it because it is against God and man. If you’re supposedly a “religious” person supporting same sex marriage, you might face disparagement.

The LGBT community actually continues to face prejudice despite the US’s #lovewins campaign as shown by the articles written against such law or the statements of some individuals sharing their negative sentiments to the world through social media. Ironically,  it seems that  same sex couples who are given equal rights to marriage may receive more discrimination. How is this so? The media hype and worldwide trend of such a ruling shows how popular and controversial the topic is. Look at how people of different races, religions and sexes reacted to such issue. This only means that the LGBT community is in the limelight, they are put in a pedestal, which only catches more attention of both supporters and antagonists. When the law was passed, people who didn’t voice out their opinions or were just neutral suddenly spoke up and debated against such ruling. There was visible backlash that wasn’t present before. More people can now openly discriminate, mock and hate because of the worldwide trend.

Not only will the homosexuals face discrimination, the people around them like their adopted children might also experience an upsurge in bullying. If that situation happens in the Philippines, wherein the values and traditions are very different, the results will likely be terrible. Even a gradeschooler, suspected of being gay by his classmates, will get bullied and be the center of jibes. Filipino fathers who would  find out of their son’s homosexuality or being “sirena” would even try to drown their son in a barrel of water until the son would promise that he’ll be straight. This is a cruel reality but our traditions and cultures shaped such actions. If the US, the most liberal country in the world, still has antagonists against such law, how much more in the Philippines?

Our country is not ready for any constitutional change in terms of approving same sex marriage. The values and traditions inculcated in the minds and hearts of the Filipino people disallows us from accepting such drastic change. It is very difficult to change a culture that has been passed on for hundreds of generations.

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#LOVEWINS NO MATTER WHAT

On a personal note, growing up in a conservative religious Filipino family, seeing same sex couples still shocks me and gives me bold questions about what is right and what is wrong.

I used to think that the issue on same sex marriage is something I am not involved with. But then, homosexuals are some of the people I see or interact with everyday. Despite the fact that we probably can’t make any feasible drastic changes right now in our own country, it is imperative that people should somehow care or take notice of the legitimate issues behind the controversy. We are humans and we are social beings – interconnected and responsible with each other. As a future doctor, good rapport and building trust to my patient is paramount, no matter who he or she is. In order to do that, emphatic understanding of their situation and helping them in the best way possible without prejudice is basic. Whatever we do might have a big impact that could lead them to be purveyors of change in the country, the world and in ourselves, too.

Same sex marriage in the constitutional level does not matter after all. If same sex marriage would be approved, particularly in our country, would the discrimination be totally eradicated? I guess not. At the end of the day, it’s all up to each one of us to battle discrimination. It’s up to how one will personally interact with the LGBT community. Cliché as it may seem, respect begets respect no matter what your color, race, age, nationality or gender is. Not all Filipinos may agree completely on same sex marriage, but least you can do is to respect the LGBT community by allowing them to work, study, and share their talents to the world without prejudice.

You don’t need to support, but do notice the rainbow plight. Love wins not in a romantic way; it does so only when it breeds respect for each other, especially between Filipinos. [x]