Monday, February 27, 2012

The Philippines Needs Leaders with Backbone

What I would love to see one day, is for a Filipino politician -- especially a member of a sitting administration -- to finally have the balls to stand up for the LGBT community and tell the church to stuff it.

This is what Lynne Featherstone (photo left), U.K. Equalities Minister, did last week, and she deserves high praise for it.

The British government has promised that the U.K.'s marriage law will be amended no later than 2015, but likely sooner.  Since 2005 the U.K. has had a Civil Partnership Act, which conveys all the rights and benefits of marriage to same-sex couples, only under a different name.  The new marriage equality law will change the term "civil partnership" to marriage, and allow for gay couples to be married in churches that are willing to do so.

Naturally the Roman Catholic Church is reacting as if someone is throwing acid in their face, and, along with some of the more conservative Anglican clergy, have stepped up efforts to stall marriage equality.

But it won't work.  Prime Minister David Cameron recently told them to more or less stop their whining.  And Equalities Minister, Lynne Featherstone, has flat out said to the church and its reactionary bishops:  You don't "own" marriage.

She wrote in The Telegraph, “Who owns marriage?  It’s an interesting question and a pressing one in the debate around equal civil marriage.  It is owned by neither the state nor the church, as the former Archbishop Lord Carey rightly said.  It is owned by the people.

“Some believe the Government has no right to change [traditional marriage] at all; they want to leave tradition alone,” she stated.  “I want to challenge that view — it is the Government’s fundamental job to reflect society and to shape the future, not stay silent where it has the power to act and change things for the better.”

You preach it, Lynne!

If only Filipino politicians had the chutzpah to stand up to the bishops and put them in their place.  I pray that some day some of them will, and I'll be shouting "hallelujah!" when it finally happens.


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