THE High Court on Tuesday enjoined the Commission on Elections (Comelec) from implementing two resolutions denying the gay rights group Ang Ladlad’s accreditation as a party-list group in the coming elections.

Court spokesman Jose Midas Marquez said the Supreme Court (SC) issued a temporary restraining order against the Comelec Second Division’s resolution promulgated on November 11, 2009 denying Ang Ladlad’s petition for accreditation, as well as the en banc resolution dated December 16, 2009, which denied its motion for reconsideration.

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“We are aware that there is a period that Comelec will have to print the list of accredited party-list representatives. If later on, the Court rules (in favor of Ang Ladlad), then it would be difficult, if not impossible for Comelec if the name of Ang Ladlad is not printed in the ballots,” Marquez said.

The Comelec will start printing the automated ballots on January 25.

Marquez said that for the time being, Ang Ladlad should be included in the list of accredited party-list groups until the Court decides on the merit of its petition.

In its petition filed on January 4, Ang Ladlad chairperson Danton Remoto alleged they were delisted from the Comelec’s list of accredited party-list groups on the ground that the group “tolerates immorality.”

“The resolutions demonize the LGBT (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders) community by accusing them of indulging in imaginary acts of immorality that the Comelec deem as ‘a threat to the youth. More importantly, the resolutions violate rights guaranteed under the Constitution and laws of universal application,” Ang Ladlad said in its petition.

The group claimed the Comelec resolutions violate Article II, Section 6 in relation to Article III, Section 5 of the 1987 Constitution.

This provision guarantees the separation of the Church and the State and provides that “no religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights.”

It further argued that the resolutions violate Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution, which provides that “no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.”

Ang Ladlad noted that even the Vatican has already publicly condemned violence and discrimination against homosexuals.

Aside from violating the provisions of the Constitution, Ladlad said the resolutions of the Comelec are also contrary to the principles enshrined in international human rights law, and constitutes a serious breach of the country’s obligations under international law.

It noted that Article 2 (1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, a treaty to which the Philippines is a state party, provides that member states should ensure all individuals within its territory the rights in the covenant, without distinction of any kind, such as sex.

Furthermore, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (Cedaw Committee), tasked to monitor the Convention on the Elimination of Forms of Discrimination against Women (Cedaw), a treaty to which the Philippines is a state party, has asked state parties to re-conceptualize lesbianism as a sexual orientation and to abolish penalties for its practice. (JCV/Sunnex)