Page last updated at 04:25 Asia/Manila, Tuesday, 04 August 2015 PH
The title of this column was suggested by a friend who is now a doctoral student in Social Institutional Communication at one of the pontifical universities in Rome. He has already anticipated that in both our legislative and juridical bodies, the unfortunate examples of Irish voters and the U.S. Supreme Court concerning same sex marriage (SSM) will be aped by so-called “freedom fighters” in the Philippines. He alerted me that a tweet from The Guardian, a British newspaper, already manifested “blatant presumption and shameless pressure” by criticizing the Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbot, because he has said no to a referendum on same sex marriage “despite the Irish vote.”
Our political leaders now and in the next Administration should emulate the courage of PM Tony Abbot. As my friend, Robert Cortes, rightly pointed out: “In a triumph for sanity, Abbot, despite just having recovered from political unpopularity, mustered enough guts to resist both the presumption and the pressure. That his decision was informed by his faith—as it should—is not a hidden fact. But the really sane thing about that decision was the clear declaration of his priorities. More urgent things had to be done by his government, and putting up a tried-and-tested pillar of society in a possible exchange for a wobbly stick of a social experiment is clearly not one of them.”
I am glad the outgoing Administration knows that its priority is to undo the damage it has done by not spending enough on public works and infrastructure projects that have already been budgeted. If it has any expectations that its candidates for the next elections have a whit of a chance of winning, it must focus all its energies in removing the bureaucratic obstacles to increasing its capital expenditures. That is the only way it can achieve its target of a 7 percent growth in GDP during its last full year of governance. It cannot waste time and effort on trying to replicate the shameless support it gave to the RH Bill, using PDAP and DAP funds to influence the vote on this very controversial law that is encountering a lot of turbulence because of the reckless decisions of the Department of Health to push contraceptive devices that are suspected of being abortifacients. I am very glad that there are enough members of the Supreme Court that can see through the subterfuges of DOH officials.
Mr. Robert Cortes, however, wants us to avoid the fire and brimstone approach in combatting the SSM’s next assault. Very much in keeping with the Year of Compassion and Mercy that Pope Francis has declared will start on December 8, 2015, he gives us the following advice: “…one need to realize that most in the SSM movement are not there because of any (ideological reasoning). More than anything, homosexuals and heterosexuals very active in the SSM front are there for very personal, often emotional reasons. One supports SSM because he or she has been lacking the human affection they think can be gained by SSM. Another supports SSM as an act of solidarity with an emotionally-scarred homosexual son or daughter…So, one who wants to contribute to preserving marriage and the family must focus on engaging the affective reasons of those who are pushing to change its definition. We are not talking about palliative solutions, but rather more lasting ones that can assure homosexuals and their sympathizers of an affectively promising future that is more authentic than the illusory promise of SSM. We are talking of solutions genuine and long-lasting enough to inspire homosexuals to permanently change their minds about SSM and become SSM’s counter-witness. This is a very important area that seminars, discussions, research and action plans should focus on.”
I do not think that Filipinos will find it difficult to follow the advice of Mr. Cortes about a more affective, instead of confrontational, approach in meeting the next assault of SSM supporters. With few exceptions, people with same sex attractions have been well integrated into Philippine society for decades. They have been some of the most prestigious couturiers, script writers, comedians, hairdressers and other creative artists. As long as there is no imminent danger of child abuse, many of them have been integrated into families as service workers. In fact, there is a significant number of them in the booming BPO and KPO industry. It can be maintained that generally LGTB persons are not lacking in affective attention from the rest of the Filipino population. They have been treated with the dignity that every human being deserves. For comments, my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.