Small Steps To Equality

Published: May 26, 2014

In 2005, Marlon Lacsamana filed a criminal case before the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office against Miriam College, which terminated his employment after Lacsamana participated in a “symbolic wedding” with his partner of five years. Lacsamana claimed that he later learned that he was dismissed because of his same-sex marriage, which Miriam College considers as immoral. Lacsamana also filed a complaint before the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) for illegal dismissal.

Lacsamana’s move was, in a way, pioneering, as it attempted to check the merit of Quezon City’s employment-related anti-discrimination ordinance. Specifically, in 2003, City Ordinance SP-1309 was passed in Quezon City to prohibit “all discriminatory acts against homosexuals in the matter of hiring, treatment, promotion or dismissal in any office in Quezon City, whether in the government or private sector.” To punish those who violate the law, sanctions include imprisonment up to six months and/or a fine of P5,000.

Over six months after Lacsamana filed the case, however, the prosecutor’s office dismissed it because the case remains pending before the NLRC.

If at all, Lacsamana’s case highlights how there may have been notable successes for the LGBT community in the Philippines (such as the existing anti-discrimination ordinance), but much remains to be done before LGBT Filipinos can claim that their human rights are upheld.

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