Gay group Ang Ladlad sees Comelec accreditation

By DJ Yap
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Posted date: July 09, 2009

MANILA, Philippines—Ladlad, a party-list organization representing homosexual men and women, expressed optimism Wednesday that it would finally be accredited by the Commission on Elections for the 2010 polls.
Ateneo de Manila University professor and Ladlad leader Danton Remoto said the Comelec had assured the group that it would be accredited as a party-list group provided it could prove a national membership.

Remoto said the group now has 22,000 registered members and 10 regional chapters.

In the 2007 elections, the organization was rejected by the poll body on the ground that it did not represent a “marginalized and underprivileged” sector as required by election laws, Remoto said.

“We were told that the likes of (prominent gay men) Boy Abunda, Ricky Reyes, and myself, a teacher at Ateneo, did not belong to the marginalized sector,” Remoto said at the Fernandina Media Forum at Club Filipino in San Juan City.

But he said the fact that some homosexuals belonged to the upper classes did not mean they were not underrepresented. “Most gay people are poor,” he said.

Remoto said Ladlad would advocate “equal rights and not special rights” in the workplace and in schools to remove discrimination against homosexuals.

He said same-sex marriage was not on their agenda, adding that he did not think it would prosper in the Philippines.

Remoto said the group was in talks with several political parties, including the Liberal Party and the Nationalist People’s Coalition, for possible collaboration in the 2010 polls.

He said major political parties were interested in teaming up with organizations like Ladlad since the presidential election would likely be a “closely fought” contest and could be won with a margin of fewer than a million votes.

Remoto said his organization would make its final decision on who to support for president in the 2010 contest by September or October.

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