03292013p24phPhilippines: The Supreme Court has ruled the government can provide free condoms and other kinds of contraception in a country whose laws adhere strictly with that of the Catholic Church.

Activists say this will strengthen their fight against HIV and overpopulation in the Philippines, reports gaystarnews.com.

The Catholic Church has been fighting to keep condoms out of the hands of poor Filipinos and to stop sex education in schools for the past 13 years by challenging as being unconstitutional the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act or RH Law as it is commonly called.

Now the government can provide free condoms and other kinds of contraception as it was signed into effect by President Benigno Aquino III after the court upheld the law recently.

This is despite the Philippines being a Catholic country with over 80 percent of its 97 million people belonging to that religion and where the Catholic Church has been active in opposing contraceptives and any civil rights legislation for the LGBT community.

About 72 percent of Filipinos supported the law passing despite the Church’s opposition largely because the Philippines has one of the world’s highest birth rates of 3.54 children per woman and where HIV has been surging among LGBTI Filipinos and Filipino sex workers and drug users, reports gaystarnews.com.

Commenting about the law, Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz from the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines conceded to the court’s decision but reminded people that the Church teachers parents may only have the children they can afford to take care of, but through natural family planning, not through contraceptives.

However, media reported him as saying that the law could lead to a legitimization of abortion, an increase in divorce and same sex marriage, all of which the Church strongly opposes.

The Catholic Church which has a great say in the political and social affairs of the country. It called the people to revolt and oust former president and dictator Ferdinand  Marcos which they did in the 1986 “peoples power revolution.”

Recently, when Filipina singer Charice who made it big time with an international chart-topping single admitted on national television that she was gay, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines issued a statement saying Charice was having an “identity crisis” and that she should be guided accordingly, as her orientation was not yet “terminal.”

However, tolerance in society for LGBT people has somewhat increased over the years due to greater education about sexual orientation. But divorce continues to be illegal in the Philippines as is abortion in line with Catholic teaching.

Source: gaystarnews.com