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Weaponising Religious Freedom: Same-Sex Marriage and Gender Equality in the Philippines

In: Religion & Human Rights
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  • 1 Director, Development Studies Program, Ateneo de Manila UniversityLoyola Heights, Quezon CityPhilippines
  • | 2 Research Associate, Development Studies Program, Ateneo de Manila UniversityLoyola Heights, Quezon CityPhilippines
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Abstract

This article spells out the ways in which religious freedom has been deployed against proponents of same-sex marriage and gender equality in the Philippines. While the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community and allies have appealed to religious freedom to gain equal rights under the law, conservative Christian entities have fought back by invoking the same notion. They have appropriated religious freedom, which has historically been interpreted by the courts in favour of individual liberties, to defend majoritarian values surrounding sexuality. This article describes this move as the weaponisation of religious freedom in defence of the dominant religion and an assumed majority of Filipinos whose moral sensibilities are purportedly under attack. Towards the end, the article relates this weaponisation to the experience of the Catholic Church in the contemporary public sphere and the militant character of Christianity that continues to view the Philippines as a Christian nation.

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