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The Progressive Organization of Gays in the Philippines
Pro-Gay Philippines 
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Vol.13, #249
Sunday, 16 August 1998
Front page, lower right box

Gay Group Gives Fernan A Mouthful


POLITICIANS, not the gays and lesbians, are the ones who break up families because they make laws that do not create jobs and therefore force Filipinos to go abroad for employment.

The counter-charge comes from the Progressive Organization of Gays (Progay), which drubbed Senate President Marcelo Fernan for being one of those lawmakers "who legislate irrelevant and shallow bills such as banning same-sex and transexual marriages, instead of thinking of improving the country's economy and providing jobs to our people."

Fernan filed Senate Bills 894, 897 and 898 rejecting homosexual and transexual marriages in the country.

He described these marriages as a "threat" to the family as the basic unit of society.

Progay secretary general Oscar Atadero said it was not "homosexuality" that destroys the family but the government's "flawed" economic policies and misplaced priorities.

"Sending our people as overseas contract workers or to become domestic helpers, entertainers and construction workers is what breaks up the families," he said. "Does Fernan know he is among those responsible for forcing these people to find employment abroad as an option?"

Atadero asserted that Fernan's support for policies like globalization, privatization and liberalization destroyed jobs here and caused the "worst destructive effects" on family ties.

"I think Fernan should devote his attention to these real evils and not waste taxpayers' money on his useless and anti-people proposals," he said.

In filing the bills, Fernan noted defects in Article 26 of the Family Code, which he said was silent on homosexual and transexual marriages.

To cure this defect, he proposed an "absolute prohibition" on homosexual and transexual marriages, including those recognized in other countries.

If the law was left uncorrected, he said, the government would have a problem should gay and lesbian couples seek to formalize their marriages in the future.

Irked by Fernan's "low regard" for gays and lesbians, Atadero said gays were also Filipinos who contribute to the economy and "silently carry the burden of raising families."

"Fernan may not know it, but gays and lesbians, too, are victims of his and this government's failure to provide food security, education and shelter because they abandoned delivering public services," Atadero said.

He advised Fernan to take a second look at his bills-- or he would "run afoul" of President Estrada's principles.

Atadero noted that Mr. Estrada, along with officials of the National Democratic Front (NDF), recently signed the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for International Human Rights, upholding the rights of citizens "regardless of gender to form marital unions and found a family." ###

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