US Supreme Court Removes the Gender Barrier on Marriage -

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US Supreme Court Removes the Gender Barrier on Marriage

The United States has finally become the 21st nation and territory to acknowledge that same sex marriage is legal.  In an unprecedented ruling, the US Supreme Court handed down a 5-4 decision favoring legalization of same sex marriage and declaring once and for all that gays, lesbians, transgender, and other members of the LGBT community can finally enjoy the benefits of marriage.  This landmark decision has now removed issues and concerns with regards to state to state differences on matters of same sex marriage.  With this, LGBT people will no longer be threatened with differences in opinion when it comes to it and finally, both parties are now protected. 

The Meaning of This Landmark Decision

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Supreme Court Justice Kennedy stated in his argument that the LGBT people are no longer confined to live in loneliness and now have equal dignity in the eyes of the law as the constitution has already granted this right.  With this development, same-sex married couples can now enjoy the same legal benefits and privileges the heterosexual couples enjoyed since time immemorial.  Thus, same sex couples are now officially recognized in public documents such as birth and death certificates and of course enjoy marital benefits as well such as social welfare, inheritance, property benefits, and many others. 

The Effects of this US Supreme Court Ruling Here in the Philippines

This is a history defining moment not only for the LGBT community but for the rest of the world as well.  The first major impact of this decision is redefining marriage; it will no longer be a man and a woman.  With that, it will create greater divide between religious fundamentalists and modern citizens.  It will also encourage the LGBT community in different parts of the world to demand the same legal rights afforded by the US Supreme Court. 

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Here in the Philippines where religion plays a major role not only in the basic core of the society but also in its quest for nationhood, the path towards removing the gender barrier in marriage will be very difficult.  This is quite ironical considering the fact that the constitution mandates separation of the Church and the State.  Yet, political leaders are servants to the whims and caprices of different religious and spiritual leaders; thus, breaking down traditional barriers in terms of gender equality and marriage will definitely face rough roads and rides. 

The bright spot in this situation for LGBT Filipinos is to follow The Netherlands scenario where Dutch citizens sued their government for not acting on climate change and the citizens won.  This will be one of the paths to be followed by the LGBT community leaders here in the Philippines in order to achieve legalization of same sex marriage in the country. LGBT people will sue the government and its leaders for violation of constitutional rights with regards to equality and liberty.  As stated in the US ruling;

The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity.

This statement is significant considering that Philippine Constitution is more or less patterned with the US Constitution. 

Another possible scenario is that there will be an exodus of LGBT people to the US with the hope of acquiring a green card and at the same time being legally married as a same sex couple.  While this might not be significant in terms of numbers, however, the contribution of the LGBT people to the Philippines financially is nothing to sneeze about. It is recognized that many LGBT people are earning more than heterosexuals do especially in areas where creativity, diligence, and industry are the requirements to be successful in their own field.

Marriage is an evolution.  It has transcended from arranged marriage to freedom to select marital partners.  It has been able to break down barriers on interracial marriage and now is the time marriage to evolve again and this time it will embrace LGBT people into it.  

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