The Supreme Court (SC) of the Philippines joined Pride Month celebrations with an event titled “The Judiciary Walks with Pride”, which eyed to encourage members of the judiciary to “contribute to the advancement of gender equality by giving support, respect, and acceptance to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA) community, and to defend and advocate inclusivity.”
In his keynote message, Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo underscored the SC’s role “as a stronghold of the rule of law which checks unwarranted interference in basic human rights.”
“The Constitution guarantees that no person should be deprived of liberty and denied the equal protection of the laws… The Constitution is a covenant that any person is assured of due process and equal protection, without distinction, without discrimination. I believe that these constitutional provisions arise from the basic premise that we are all human beings, each entitled to respect and a life lived with dignity,” Gesmundo said.
The Chief Justice similarly stressed that the Court must accept diversity and strive for inclusivity, with a reminder that “the Court will never condone intolerance and bigotry.”
The SC has included gender equality in its recently approved Strategic Plan for Judicial Innovations 2022-2027, particularly via specific activities that expand access to justice, particularly on gender fairness, inclusivity, and equality. It similarly issued early this year the first-ever organic Guidelines on the Use of Gender-Fair Language and Courtroom Etiquette, now being applied nationwide; as well as the strengthening of the capacity of judges and court personnel on gender sensitivity.
Meanwhile, in a circular dated June 23, 2022, Court Administrator Raul B. Villanueva encouraged judges and court personnel to conduct simple Pride events to celebrate “self-acceptance, achievements, legal rights, aspirations, and pride of the LGBTQIA+ community.”
The Chief Justice said that he hopes that “any person who comes to our courts will be treated with fairness, equality, and decency.”
“The Judiciary Walks with Pride” was supported by Australian AID and The Asia Foundation. It was helmed by the SC Committee on Gender Responsiveness in the Judiciary (CGRJ) chairperson, Associate Justice Amy C. Lazaro-Javier.