Filipino LGBT community rejoices after US legalizes gay marriage

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More than 500 members of the lesbian, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders (LGBT) community in the Philippines hold a pride march to campaign for gender equality after the U.S. legalizes gay marriages.

Metro Manila, Philippines (Reuters) — More than 500 people from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community held a parade in Manila on Saturday (June 27) to campaign for gender equality a day after the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the legalization of gay marriage.

Campaigners marched along the Philippine capital's Rizal Park dressed in colorful costumes, carrying bright streamers with messages against gender discrimination.

They were optimistic that the legalization of gay marriage in the U.S. will pave way to a more approachable outlook to the LGBT community.

"Of course we are happy with our friends and family in the United states because they could enjoy the full rights of their own country. we are hoping that in the Philippines, at some point in the future, we can talk about it," said Red Macalalad, spokesperson from Task Force Pride Philippines.

The US Supreme Court ruled on Friday (June 26) that the U.S. Constitution provides same-sex couples the right to marry and equal protection under law, handing a historic triumph to the American gay rights movement.

Luis Batchoy, spokesperson of religious LGBT group Metropolitan Community Church, was hopeful that the momentum would spur talks on legalization of gay marriage in the Philippines.

"This is like a protest, so that we can have the same chance to have legalized gay marriage equality in the Philippines because we believe that one day there will be one," he said.

The Philippines prohibits same-sex marriage under the Family Code, but campaigners are optimistic that the U.S. ruling would send a positive message around the world.

The Philippines, with over 80 percent of its 100-million population practising the Catholic religion, is generally tolerant with homosexuals, with celebrities coming out of the closet and transgenders holding their own cabaret shows.