Gay couples denied marriage licences in Philippines

Two same-sex couples have applied for marriage licenses in the Philippines.

The couples – Maria Arlyn Ibanez & Joanne Reena Gregorio, and Crescencio Agbayani & Marlon Pelipe – hoped to raise awareness of LGBT rights in the predominantly Catholic country. Same-sex marriage is illegal in the Philippines.

According to The Straits Times, the couples’ applications were denied by the government, with officials noting that it was the first time a same-sex couple had tried to obtain a marriage license.

One of those who applied for a license, Maria Arlyn Ibanez, told the AFP: “We expected it would be denied but we tried it anyway … we thought maybe there would be a miracle and it would be approved.”

When their application was rejected, Ibanez and Agbayani held up a sign reading: “We were denied.”

The image has been shared online and has sparked discussion about LGBT rights in the Philippines.

The right to marry is not the only issue LGBT Filipinos face.There are no anti-discrimination laws covering hate speech, and lesbian couples cannot access IVF services. This is largely due to the influence of the Catholic Church on legislation.

The Philippines is the only country in the world where divorce is not permitted, and abortion is illegal.

In response to the government’s stance, Agbayani has launched a ‘National LGBT Marriage License Application Day’ to take place on August 3. Same-sex couples are encouraged to apply for licenses in Quezon City as a protest.

Ibanez and her partner still plan to marry later this month, whether the state recognises their union or not.