LOVE wins again in Quezon City!
Mayor Joy Belmonte announced that the Quezon City local government would organize its second commitment ceremony for LGBTQIA+ couples in celebration of the month of love in February.
“Quezon City is a gender-fair city where LGBT community is treated with respect and equality,” Belmonte wrote. “This love month, the Office of the Mayor and QC Gender and Development (GAD) Council will be sponsoring a commitment ceremony for LGBT couples.”
According to Belmonte, couples who wish to register must bring the following requirements:
- Barangay certificate of residence
- Accomplished registration form
- Picture of applicants
- QC ID
To receive a copy of the registration form, QC citizens are advised to go to the nearest action office/mini city hall.
Commitment ceremony vs wedding
A commitment ceremony is similar to a marriage ceremony intended for homosexual couples. This allow LGBTQIA+ couples to commit their lives to each other by exchanging vows. However, the commitment ceremony is not legally binding as same-sex union is still prohibited in the Philippines.
This is the second year that the QC mayor will be sponsoring this event for the LGBTQIA+ community.
Belmonte is a known supporter of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Aside from organizing commitment ceremonies, Belmonte also hosted the return of the in-person Pride March in June 2022 at the QC Memorial Circle, in partnership with Pride PH.
The city mayor also attended the event and shared kind words of encouragement to the gay community.
Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte (middle) with French Ambassador Michèle Boccoz (left) and an organizer (right) from Quezon City Pride March during the gay community’s parade/protest last June 2022. | Photo courtesy: Embassy of France to the Philippines and Micronesia’s Facebook
Response from the community
Many netizens praised Belmonte for the initiative to celebrate LGBTQIA+ relationships during the forthcoming love month.
Although grateful for the warm gestures from the city mayor, many members from the gay community still think this action is insufficient.
Mavi Evangelista, an indie artist and an LGBTQIA+ community member, appreciates the initiative because not everyone has the courage to hold events like this. However, she can’t see the essence of the commitment ceremony since it is not legally binding.
“Anong sense ng ceremony and all kung walang papers?” Evangelista told republicasia. “We appreciate the gesture, the initiative, pero kasi kung wala ka namang gagawin [after this], kung walang papel, wala ring sense kasi hindi mo siya magagamit.”
She also cited an example where she said you still cannot use the commitment ceremony during emergency situations where an LGBTQIA+ individual needs to decide on behalf of their partner since they are not legally bonded.
“Hindi mo siya magagamit, like kunyare naopistal yung partner mo. Hindi mo makeclaim na partner mo yun [and decide for them] kasi hindi kayo legally bonded,” she argued.
What they need is a law that permits same-sex union. She also called for the urgent passage of the SOGIE Equality Bill.
Another community member, Gerson Salacup, called for the same measures.
Although he believes that the QC-led commitment ceremony is a win for the community, there are other bigger initiatives that should be done.
“I think showing that she supports the community is a win for the community but I don’t think that it’s enough given the power that she holds,” said Salacup.
According to him, if Belmonte is sincere in supporting the move to end discrimination against gay people, she wouldn’t stop with this initiative and would do more.
“If she really supports the community she won’t stop with this, especially now na sinusulong yung SOGIE Equality bill sa senate ulit,” he said. “She can do so much more for the community aside from this kasi what we truly need is for us to be given the same rights legally.”
Banner courtesy: Quezon City Government