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From Same-sex Courtship to Same-sex Weddings By: Cyrill N. Tan

Acknowledgments: Before proceeding with Part 1, I would just like to extend my warmest gratitude to the people who helped in making this paper possible to finish: To Reverend Ceejay Agbayani, administrative pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church Quezon City, for bearing with me to do the interviews again after I was mugged by hold-uppers and lost my data for my first attempt to do this paper. To Prof. Eric Julian Manalastas of the Psychology Dept. in UP Diliman, for helping me in my search for possible academic papers to cite for this research. To Jeffry Acaba, who is finishing his M.A. thesis on same-sex love in UP Diliman, thank you for sharing with me materials you have so far found helpful in your research and allowing me to use them. To Prof. Gil Gotiangco, for allowing me to do my research paper on this topic as it was a great eye opener. When I thought I knew what the answers would turn out, I was wrong. It was a learning experience as well.

Part 1 Introduction

This paper studies the culture of dating and wedding among the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) community in the Philippines as reflected by conducted surveys and interviews with key persons and LGBT couples. With the increasing activism

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on the part of the LGBT, the Philippine society has been becoming more aware of their concerns. One of the political concerns is the possible passage of same-sex marriage in the future. It is therefore a timely study that will make the understanding of the LGBT community better. This paper includes my critical take on the matters to be presented. At the end of this paper, the author aims to understand better the LGBT couples. Do they have different dating and courtship practices? Who among the gay and lesbian couples wed more? Is there a high rate of separation? This paper will specifically look into gay relationships and how such are treated in two particular parts: dating and weddings.

1.0 Scope and Limitation

There are 32 respondents for this study. The sexual identification of the respondents will be the main consideration for this study. Of the 32 respondents, 8 were lesbians, 15 were gay men, 8 were bisexuals, and 1 was a straight man. Their ages range from 19 to 53. The survey conducted on the respondents will be the main basis of analysis for my paper. The relationship status of the respondents surveyed was also looked into. However, there are a limited number of available respondents for the wedded category. There was a total of 4 respondents for the survey 2 gay men and 2 lesbians. It must be understood that some of the questions meant to have a better understanding were directed to a key person. More explanations will be given later. I find that the gathered data would suffice for what was considered in this research. Courtship rituals and finding of partners were among the things looked into. As far as weddings are concerned, I only considered Christian weddings officiated by the Metropolitan Community Church1. It must be noted that pagan and communist rituals to officiate a similar same-sex wedding has been recorded in the Philippines.

1

One more Christian church officiates same-sex weddings the Apostolic Old Catholic Church in Dasmarinas, Cavite.

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Nothing beyond the arrival of the Metropolitan Community Church in the Philippines has been included since nothing as far as the researcher is concerned has been recorded .

1.1.

Methodology Three means were done in order to complete this paper. First, I gathered

information by reading relevant resources. Then, interviews were done with key persons. Lastly, an online survey was given out. The survey will be the primary source of data. The online questionnaire was made through a program of Google. The title of the survey was the same one for this research paper which was From Same-sex Courtship to Same-sex Wedding . The demographics of the respondents were already given above. An analysis of the responses by these people will then be carried out by the researcher. Interviews with Reverend Ceejay Agbayani of the Metropolitan Community Church in Quezon City give the researcher first-hand knowledge on wedding rituals and statistics and information as reflected by the policy of the church to interview first the couple who wanted to wed before allowing them to do so. By disclosing these information to me, I was able to extrapolate what was required in my analyses. The respondents coming from the wedded group came from the contacts of the Reverend.

Part 2 Historico-Cultural Situationer

This part of the paper particularly deals with the historical and cultural aspect of my study. Dr. Margarita Holmes A Different Love: Being Gay in the Philippines (1993) was used to reflect the various aspects of gay life in the Philippines. Anthropologist Dr. Michael Tan was also cited in the book as a small part of it was written by him.

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Since the arrival of same-sex weddings in the Philippines has been brought to the Philippines by none other than the Christian denomination Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) in 1991, interviews with its administrative pastor narrated to us the history not only of the presence of the church, but also of same-sex weddings in the country. I have also met and talked to the man who brought MCC in the Philippines, Fr. Richard Mickley. Anthropologist Dr. Michael Tan said that during pre-colonial history, sexual orientation was perhaps never an issue (Tan 1993, 11). 2 According to him, the Tagalog word bakla which means a gay man didn t originally mean homosexual but an effeminate man (Tan 1993, 11). The moral issues that are normally thrown at the LGBT are a result of the teachings of the religions. In mainstream Christianity and even Islam, homosexuality is a sin. The society sees what Dr. Tan calls a dichotomy (Tan 1993, 11) or the existence of only two genders: man and a woman. We know little about the LGBT history and culture in the Philippines. The presence of a literature gap makes interviews with key people highly valuable. Same-sex wedding in the Philippines has arrived with a man named Richard Mickley. Fr. Richard Mickley was a pastor of MCC in Auckland, New Zealand in 1991 when he decided to go visit the Philippines out of a calling . On June 26, 1991, he gathered 50 people at the Cathedral of the Holy Child and preached how God loved the LGBT community. It also became the first Pride Mass in the Philippines. He went back to New Zealand on July 5, 1991 with a petition signed by 43 gays and lesbians asking him to come back to the Philippines. He gave up his life in New Zealand to start a ministry in the Philippines on the same year. He held his first official worship service on September 7, 1991 under the MCC denomination (Interview with Fr. Richard Mickley 2009). 3

Tan, Michael. In A Different Love: Being Gay in the Philippines, by Margarita Holmes, 11. Manila: Anvil Publishing House, Inc., 1993.
3

2

"Interview with Fr. Richard Mickley." Walk With Pride Now. December 27, 2009. www.walkwithpridenow.com (accessed December 21, 2011).

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MCC, which started with MCC Manila (now MCC Makati) would later have MCC Quezon City and finally, MCC Metro Baguio. Fr. Mickley now is a retired clergy of the Metropolitan Community Churches in the Philippines. However, he founded the Apostolic Old Catholic Church based in Dasmarinas, Cavite where he is a bishop. The pastor for the church in Cavite is Rev. Regen Luna, himself a former MCC pastor. MCC marks many firsts in the LGBT community upon its arrival in Philippine soil. Same-sex wedding first took place in the Philippines some time in 1994. In 1994, MCC helped in organizing the First Pride March an annual activity by the LGBT community to

promote their welfare and rights-- in the Philippines, which was also first in Asia. In 1996, the first gay Filipino clergy for the MCC has been ordained Rev. Edgar Mendoza. In 2006,

Rev. Ceejay Agbayani would be the first openly gay man to graduate from the Union Theological Seminary in Cavite and subsequently administer MCC Quezon City. MCC has been conducting same-sex weddings or same-sex holy unions since 1994. While they were the first Christian denomination in the Philippines to have done so, they are not the only existing Christian church to this day that does it. The group of Fr. Mickley and Rev. Luna that branched out of MCC, the Apostolic Old Catholic Church, holds similar ceremonies. Since the Philippines do not recognize same-sex marriage or even a legal recognition of a domestic partnership of such a couple, no legal entity could be granted to those who undergo such ceremonies. Rev. Agbayani says that the couples who go to him to be wedded only do so to have a blessing from the church and nothing more. It must be noted however that a same-sex marriage is present in the Philippine history as far as the New People s Army is concerned. The marriage of Ka Jose and Ka Andres, though not recognized by Philippine law, took place on February 4, 2005 (Dowell 2005).4 Aside from that, a branding of marriage was not used by those performing such ceremonies to avoid any legal conflicts.

4

Dowell, L. "New People Army recognizes Same-sex Marriage." Workers. February 17, 2005. http://www.workers.org/2005/world/npa_0224/ (accessed December 22, 2011).

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In addition, Pagan unions in the Philippines also exist. This will not be covered by my study for the reasons already clarified in my Scope and Limitation section.

Part 3 Presentation of Data

This part presents the data as gathered from the survey and would go with corresponding analyses and additional information as gathered from interviews, if found needed.

3.0 Demographics of Respondents

This part is a presentation of the demographics of the respondents in the survey. This will cover sexual identification, age, location, and relationship status. I excluded socioeconomic status as I was not planning to include it in my scope of study.

Table 1 Sexual Identification

Gay Men 15

Lesbian 8

Bisexual Men 8

Straight Man 1

These were all self-identifications and I could not attest to the veracity of how they identify themselves. For instance, it is known among the gay community that many gay men who try to conceal their effiminacy and act as manly as they could would refer to themselves as bi , short for bisexual. It is not true to the more general meaning of the

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word which is having sexual attraction to both sexes. No transgender answered the survey.

Table 2 Age Distribution of Respondents

20 and Below 1

21-29 16

30-39 8

40-49 5

50 above 2

Since this was an online survey, most of the respondents were within the 21-29 age. The youngest respondent was 19 years old (Respondent #6 or R6) while the oldest was 53 (R14).
Table 3 Location of the Respondents

Quezon City 16

Makati

Las Pinas

Manila

Caloocan

Mandaluyong

Marikina

3

2

5

1

1

4

A bulk of the respondents came from Quezon City. Other cities in Metro Manila were not represented. The survey was done to random people living in Metro Manila with the major requirement of having been in a same-sex relationship. As a result, I had no power over the residential location of the respondents.
Table 4 Relationship Status by Respondents on Time of the Survey

Single

In an Exclusive Relationship

Wedded

16

12

4

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During the time when the survey was taken by the respondents, a majority of the respondents were single. No one answered in an open relationship . Being single doesn t disqualify them from answering the survey since the first two parts of the survey deals with courtship or dating in the LGBT community.

3.1 The Lookout This part is aptly entitled Lookout as it presents how the respondents find the people they are interested to date. Dr. Margie Holmes talks about how gay men find romance in movie houses (Holmes 1993, 168)5. This was something Rev. Ceejay of MCC Quezon City also mentioned in one of my interviews with him. These two people were talking about romantic or even sexual encounters between among gay men, to be particular. However, this was a reflection of what was happening during the early 90 s as Holmes book was published in 1993. Rev. Ceejay admits that prior to being a pastor to MCC Quezon City, he experienced the average gay man s life in the metro. In the 90 s gay men normally look for friends or sexual partners in movie houses. He gave the following places as known spots to get a partner: Quezon City Circle, Recto, Greenbelt, and Cubao, especially Ali Mall, cinema in Quiapo, Alta cinema, SM North EDSA, and Robinsons Galleria. This was long before the emergence of the Internet as an efficient tool for meeting people quicker and easier. However, he noted that there was already the chat-server mIRC during that time. The following graph shows how many of the respondents answered how they meet the people they date. The given choices were: Bars, General Social Networking Sites (ex. Facebook and Twitter), LGBT-specific Social Networking Sites (ex. PlanetRomeo and Downelink), Phone and Tablet Applications like Grindr, Malls, Coffee Shop, Church, Introduced by a Friend, Workplace/School, Others.

5

Holmes, M. In A Different Love: Being Gay in the Philippines, by Margarita Holmes, 168. Manila: Anvil Publishing House, Inc., 1993.

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The respondents were allowed to select multiple answers.
Table 5 How do you Normally Meet your Dates

30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Series1

The graph shows the normal way of how the respondents meet their dates. The most common way of meeting their date was when their dates were introduced by a common friend. Following this was in the workplace or school. Seeing the person on a regular basis would of course make it easier for someone to date a person. On the third and fourth positions were Social Networking Sites. In the age of the Internet, various social networking sites or websites where people can interact online have become popular. The difference between the two social networking sites are that one refers to sites used by everyone, while the other group of sites are for LGBT s only. An example of the former is Facebook. One does not need to be gay or straight in order to use Facebook. An example of the latter is PlanetRomeo. In order to be a member of this online community, one is expected to be attracted to men. While one may expect that the younger

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age group would be the only ones eager to use these online tools to meet their date, the oldest respondent (R14) admitted he uses LGBT Social Networking Sites to meet his dates. Bars are also known as places where people get to find dates. R21 explains that popular gay clubs in Malate like BED , O Bar, and Chelu are easy places to find hookups and dates. The least ways of meeting their dates were Phone and Tablet Applications, Coffee Shop and Church, respectively. With the increasing popularity of smart phones and tablets like iPhone, iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab and many more, applications commonly known as Apps are also becoming more popular. The best known app used by gay men who want to find other gay men closest to their location is Grindr. With this app , the user may browse different profiles of gay men who are closest to their current location. Coffee shops and churches are not ideal places because of the order of these places. Coffee shops are normally quiet and so approaching someone may be a difficult albeit possible thing to do. The same thing goes with churches. Since churches are generally against homosexual behaviors (unless you are a part of MCC or the Old Apostolic Catholic Church), then finding a date in the church would also be a difficult task. Now, when asked to choose the means the respondents use to meet the people they re interested with, here was the division of the respondents as represented by the graph on the following page:

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Table 6 Preferred Means of Finding a Date

Preferred Means of Finding a Date
Cyberspace Personal Interaction

31%

69%

This shows that more are still at ease with finding their dates by means of personal interaction than by looking for them online. A total of 22 respondents answered they preferred personal interaction while 10 answered they preferred looking for their dates online or in cyberspace.

3.2 The Courtship

This part looks into the way same-sex couples date. This is a brief part about where first dates normally take place and what they normally do on first dates. For the question, Where do you normally go on a first date? the choices were: House of either one of us, Cinemas, Coffee Shop, Bar, Church, Restaurant, Others. The respondents were given the freedom to choose as many as they want. For ease of presentation, two respondents who answered Others with Tourist Places (R5) and Hotel (R13) will be shown directly as they answered it and not anymore as Others.

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Table 7 Where First Dates Take Place

25 20 15 10 5 0 Series1

The top answer of the respondents was Restaurant with 20 respondents choosing this. A default when it comes to dates, it is easier to handle conversation and to break the ice over a meal. The second most chosen answer was Coffee Shop. It is similar to restaurants with the exception of what is served. It is also a good place to break the ice. Cinemas came as third. Houses of either one of the people dating came as fourth , Church as fifth, Bar as sixth and Hotel and Tourist Park as the seventh choices. One could observe that the top choices involve places where activities are normal to take place. The top two answers are even places where we normally engage in conversation. The next question deals with what the respondents normally do on a first date. I did not include any choices for this part of the survey. However, the answers of the respondents can be grouped into: Watching a movie, Dining, Having a coffee, Having sex, Talking, Having a drink. The graph in the next page shows the responses.

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Table 8 Normal Activities on a First Date

25 20 15 10 5 0 Watching a Movie Dining Having Having Sex Talking Coffee Having a Drink Series1

Coherent with the previous graph which shows the places where first dates normally take place, the top activity for first dates involves eating. A total of 22 respondents chose it. Talking came in second, while having coffee came in third. Some of the respondents explained that dining out and having coffee is a good way to talk to one s date. R18 believes that talking a lot on a first date would make him decide whether he should go for a second time or not. Coming in as the fourth choice, eight of the respondents admitted to having casual sex on a first date. R17 says that normally, dates end up in sex anyway regardless of how it begins. Chosen by two respondents was having a drink. M.V. Lee Badgett (2009) said in her book When Gay People get Married that there is really no difference between straight couples and gay couples.6 Rev. Ceejay Agbayani says that sex by people who are dating, as long as it is consensual and safe, is O.K. He says that couples must have sexual compatibility , so having sex is really a part of finding the desired partner.

6

Badgett, M.V. Lee. When Gay People Get Married. New York: New York University Press, 2009.

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3.3 Attitudes toward the Self This part presents the attitudes of the respondents to the self in relation to their sexuality. I included this part because I think it shows us the connection between their attitudes toward same-sex relationships and even weddings once we know how they perceive themselves in relation to their sexuality. First was the question, Was your sexuality by choice or something you were born with? Why? The answers can be classified with: Born with, Choice, I don t know, and one claims Transformation due to childhood abuse.

Table 9 How did you have your sexuality?

30 25 20 15 Series1 10 5 0 Born with By choice Don't Know Transformed

Most of the respondents believe that they were born with their sexual orientations. Two of the respondents said it was by choice, and two do not know while one of the respondents said that he was abused as a child and was transformed into a gay man after that. The two respondents who answered that homosexuality is by choice speak of evil they could not escape. R17 says that to act on your sexual orientation is your choice.

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The next question was whether God hates them for being homosexual. The respondents answered:
Table 10 Does God Hate You for Your Sexual Orientation?

YES, God hates me for being LGBT. 2

NO, God doesn t hate me for being LGBT. 30

Those who answered in Table 9 that their sexuality was a choice were also the two respondents who believed that God hates them for being homosexuals. They carry the weight of the teaching of their religion, which is Catholic for both respondents. R17 argued that God created humans in His own image and likeness (in reference to the story of Creation in the Book of Genesis) and that God is not a homosexual, therefore God hates us. Rev. Agbayani says that the teaching that homosexuality is a sin by many Christian churches, including the Catholic Church is wrong. He continues that Jesus Himself did not even made mention anything about homosexuality being a sin.

3.3 Attitudes toward the Relationship

As a continuation of the previous part, this presents the attitudes of the respondents toward same-sex relationships. The first question I d like to include here is: Do you think God hates same-sex relationships? Why? The respondents were to give their own answers and explanations to the question. Their answers can be grouped into Yes and No.
Table 11 Does God hate same-sex relationships?

Yes, God hates same-sex relationships.

No, God doesn t hate same-sex relationships.

2

30

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Those who answered no to the question in Table 10 merely reflected a similar answer to this question. Those who answered yes mentioned that relationships between two persons of the same sex are not the intended version of God. I think this shows how powerful one s religion can be. It can go as far as make one person hate himself for perceiving himself as totally against the ideal of God. The next question is: Is it necessary for someone to play a man s role and a woman s role? Only 1 respondent answered with a Yes (R17) while everyone else answered with No, we can both share the burdens.
Table 12 Is it necessary for someone to play a man's role or a woman's role?

YES, one must assume women roles and the other must assume men roles. 1

NO, we can both share the burdens.

31

Contrary to beliefs that in a same-sex relationships, one would have to assume a specific role either that of a man s or a woman s, most of the respondents believed that burdens must be shared by the couple. Even Dr. Holmes pointed out that it is difficult to point out the roles a partner plays in a relationship (Holmes 1993, 62).7 I think that while straight men and women are normally expected to assume a gender role in the business of running one s family, the same is given resilience and flexibility with same-sex couples. The idea that the woman submits to the man in a heterosexual relationship may now be more equal when it comes to same-sex relationships. The last question to be included in data presentation for this section is Do you believe OPEN RELATIONSHIPS can work? Why? The term OPEN RELATIONSHIP, though a common term among the LGBT community, was defined prior to the answering of the respondents. An open relationship is a kind of relationship where the partners still have the freedom to do as they please, including having other sexual partners or other open relationships while there is an existing open relationship. It is also known as polyamory. Their answers were as follow:

7

Holmes, M. In A Different Love: Being Gay in the Philippines, by Margarita Holmes, 62. Manila: Anvil Publishing House, Inc., 1993.

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Table 13 Do you believe Open Relationships can work?

Can an Open Relationship Work?
It Depends 6% YES 19%

No 75%

22 of the respondents answered Yes , 6 answered No , while I put 2 under It depends as their answers have a certain level of uncertainty with them. I included this in my survey because there is a belief that homosexuals are promiscuous. Having been associated with sexually transmitted disease (STD s) like HIV and AIDS, it is important to know how members of the community perceive a relationship. The answers of the respondents reflect that most of them believe in an exclusive relationship can be compared to the characteristic sought after by heterosexual couples. something that

3.4 Attitudes toward Same-sex Holy Unions As was clarified already in the previous paragraphs, same-sex marriage denotes a legal entity which is not recognized in the Philippines. Ministers officiating on same-sex weddings call it Same-sex Holy unions. Rev. Agbayani said that by calling it such makes it free from any legal binding. It is a ritual within the church and must be recognized as part of the Freedom of Religion and therefore not illegal to perform. This part shows the attitudes of the respondents toward same-sex holy unions or even toward same-sex marriage.

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The first question is Do you think it s important for a same-sex couple to wed or marry? Why?

Table 14 Do you think it s important for same-sex couples to wed or marry?

Is it important for same-sex couples to "wed"/marry?
YES NO MAYBE

9% 9%

82%

Many of the respondents, for example R25, believe that it is an inherent right of every individual to get married. R4 said that if other people who only get married for reasons of inheritance and money, why won t you allow to people who love each other the chance to have their vows solemnized? The reasons behind the holy unions as reflected by the answers by the respondents normally talk about having the legal advantages that go with a marriage . However, a lot more believe that to wed is a right by two individuals who love each other. The follow up question to the question above is this: Do you want to get wedded or married to person you love one day? Why or Why not? Here are the answers of the respondents:
Table 15 Do you want to get wedded or married to the person you love?

YES 31

I DON T KNOW 1

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Almost all respondents voted affirmative to the question. Compared to the previous question which is about the attitude of the respondents to the importance of wedding or marriage to other same-sex couples, the next question was directed to the respondents themselves. Here are some of the reasons the respondents gave: R7 answered for practical reasons , while R10 went further saying that it is a step further to claiming their right to equality and R18 said that it is an official recognition that they are bound by a vow and would make their relationship stronger. The last question for this section is whether same-sex marriage should be legalized in the Philippines or not. Here was the result:

Table 16 Should Same-sex Marriage be legalized?

Should Same-sex Marriage be Legalized?
MAYBE 3% NO 9%

YES 88%

28 of the respondents said YES , 3 said NO , while 1 said MAYBE . Most of respondents offered no explanation to their answer but to those who did, their answers include Yes, but the Philippines isn t ready yet. (R5) and R18 said that it shouldn t even be a big deal. While it shows that many members of the LGBT community want same-sex marriage to be legalized, it must be noted that not everyone likes the idea. It goes against public perception that all LGBT people are fighting for equal rights as for some members of this community, these rights may be considered irrelevant or even unimportant.

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3.5 The Wedding

This part would include answers coming from the survey and from interviews with Rev. Agbayani. I want to begin this section with answers about the proper length of the relationship before considering exchanging vows in the altar. Here were their answers:
Table 17 Length of relationship before you consider exchanging vows with your partner.

I don't know 3%

Length of Relationship Before Exchanging Vows is considered
One year 13% Three years 6% Three to Five years 16% Five years Seven years 6% 3%

Time is not important 53%

Idealism over relationships can be seen on the answers of the respondents. Many answered that time is irrelevant when considering tying the knot with a partner. R18 went so far as to say that even on day one you would know if the person you are with is the one you want to marry. Those who gave time frames however did so to make sure that they know their partners enough to consider such exchange of vows. Rev. Agbayani, in his experience, wedded couples with an average relationship of 4 months before they decide to get wedded. So, the answer of the respondents reflects what is actually going on in real life. The Reverend explained that many of the couples were just sure about themselves. Next question asked the respondent whether they are aware of a church or a place where exchange of vows between a same-sex couple can be solemnized. The result was:

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Table 18 Awareness of a church where same-sex wedding may happen

Awareness of a church or place where same-sex wedding may happen

NO 25%

YES 75%

Most of the respondents who answered YES mentioned MCC and Fr. Mickley. Of course, I must take note that 4 of the respondents were actually wedded in MCC, therefore having knowledge on the church. However, many others were also aware of MCC. R26 said that he found out about MCC on the news when they wedded couples in Baguio last year. The last question for this is: If you want to get wedded, where do you want it done? Choices given were: Beach, Garden, My own church, Another church that would accept performance of wedding rites, Others. I got the following results (total is more than 32 because respondents were allowed more than one answer):

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Table 19 Preferred places of Wedding Rites

14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 Beach Garden My Church Another In a Church historical that site performs Same-Sex Wedding Home Series1

Most answered a beach wedding or a garden wedding as their ideal place of tying the knot. This preference is actually reflected as well in the numerous ceremonies that Rev. Agbayani performed. Since it is a highly anticipated day, many couples wed in gardens and beaches to add more grandeur to the event. However, Reverend Agbayani said that those who could not afford to do so wedded in the MCC chapel. The way of celebrating the union is not as important as the solemnized union itself.

3.6 The MCC Wedding Rites

This part is solely based on the interviews with Rev. Agbayani and also from the same-sex Holy unions I have observed in the past, which includes the holy union of the Reverend himself and his partner, Marlon Felipe. The Metropolitan Community Church in the Philippines started wedding couples as early as 1994. There are currently three MCC churches in the Philippines: MCC Makati (the very first MCC established now headed by Rev. Edgardo Constantino), MCC Quezon City (headed by Rev. Agbayani), and MCC Metro Baguio (a church planted by MCC Quezon City headed by Rev. Myke Sotero).

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MCC is an ecumenical Christian denomination. It is for this reason that worship services in every church varies. That is, some churches are more charismatic while others follow more Catholic-like rites. MCC Quezon City follows combines both Catholic and mainstream Protestant rites in their order of worship to make sure that everyone would feel at ease with the church. The same principles apply to the wedding rites. According to Rev. Agbayani, there really is no difference between the way a heterosexual couple is wedded to the way they solemnize vows of same-sex couples. Rev. Agbayani said that the vow is the heart and soul of the wedding . While lacking legal recognition, the vow that the couple makes to each other is the most important part of it all. He said that we tend to forget that legal recognitions are just bonuses or perks that go with a wedding. Those who go to MCC know that they will not be recognized by the state but go on with the wedding because of their belief that their relationship must be blessed by a minister of God. As of the time of the interview, around 70 couples have already been wedded by Rev. Agbayani. Of these, only 8 couples were gay men. He could not offer any explanation as to why more lesbian couples find eagerness in wedding their partners as compared to gay couples. All the couples he wedded underwent a counseling prior to the wedding to make sure that they were indeed sure of their decision. Rev. Agbayani said that the same process is done in other Christian churches. The wedding also follows the same format of a regular heterosexual wedding. However, the wedding symbols become symbols for equality in the relationship something unique in MCC wedding rites. For instance, the veil as used in a heterosexual wedding covers the head of the woman symbolizing the woman s submission to the man. In same-sex wedding rites, the veil is not used that way. Another unique characteristic of same-sex wedding rites is the existence of the socalled Unity Candle instead of the two candles lit during the wedding ceremony.

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Aside from what I mentioned, the couples are normally given a degree of liberty any alterations to how they want their weddings to be done since the vow is the most important part of it all. When asked about separation of couples who got wedded by Rev. Agbayani, he said that he only had one ever. Rev. Agbayani said that in case of a separation, he advised the couple to go through a series of counseling with him to see if the relationship could still be fixed or not. If not, he asks them to write a letter saying that they are letting go of each other and make them free from the vows they previously made. Rev. Agbayani said that it was a mutual decision between the two.

Part 4 Conclusion and Recommendation This paper looked into the various attitudes and culture surrounding same-sex courtship and same-sex weddings or holy unions. With the help of surveys and interviews conducted on the matter, I was able to have a better understanding of the said matters. First, members of the LGBT community have been increasingly using Internet tools to meet dates. However, more still claim to meet most of their dates via personal interaction. Second, courtship and dating are similar to that of heterosexual s where they meet in public places like restaurants and coffee shop to dine and talk. There is casual sex on first dates, but it was not a top answer by the respondents. Third, gender roles are normally not present in same-sex relationships. Fourth, while a majority of members of the LGBT community believe that they are born that way, that same-sex marriage should be legalized and that God doesn t hate them for being that way, a sizable minority believes otherwise.

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Fifth, similar rite is followed by same-sex wedding rites done by MCC. However, symbols are used to promote equality between the two individuals. There are also more liberty given to the couples since the vow is considered as the heart and the soul of the wedding. I recommend that future studies make a survey that can be cover more respondents as my survey was limited only to a small number of individuals. I also recommend a comparison to the point of view heterosexual individuals and couples on the similar matters. This was something I didn t have the luxury of time to do. Contrary to beliefs by many, little has been written academic of nature about the LGBT community and it is a broad area to do research on.

References
Badgett, M.V. Lee. When Gay People Get Married. New York: New York University Press, 2009. Dowell, L. "New People Army recognizes Same-sex Marriage." Workers. February 17, 2005. http://www.workers.org/2005/world/npa_0224/ (accessed December 22, 2011). Holmes, M. A Different Love: Being Gay in the Philippines. Manila: Anvil Publishing House, 1993. "Interview with Fr. Richard Mickley." Walk With Pride Now. December 27, 2009. www.walkwithpridenow.com (accessed December 21, 2011). Tan, Michael. In A Different Love: Being Gay in the Philippines, by Margarita Holmes, 11. Manila: Anvil Publishing House, Inc., 1993.

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