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Top Philippine court refuses to legalize gay marriage

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A landmark case to legalise gay marriage was rejected by the Philippines’ highest court on Tuesday, but LGBT advocates in the deeply Catholic nation vowed to push their battle in the legislature.

Lead plaintiff Jesus Falcis had said the current law was a violation of his rights, but in a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court threw out his case primarily on technical grounds.

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Government lawyers argued Falcis had never tried to get married, thus would not benefit if justices struck down the portions of the 1987 law defining marriage as between a man and woman.

Though the Philippines has a reputation for being accepting of same-sex relationships, few legal protections and rights exist in a nation where conservative Catholic values are deep-seated.

Abortion is illegal and the country of about 107 million is the only place outside the Vatican where divorce is outlawed. Roughly 80 percent of the population is considered Christian.

Despite its decision, in a text released to journalists, the court noted the “constitution does not define, or restrict, marriage on the basis of… sexual orientation, or gender identity”.

It went on to say that same-sex unions “may, for now, be a matter that should be addressed to Congress”.

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Danton Remoto, chair of LGBT political party Ang Ladlad, meaning Out of the Closet, told AFP that regardless of the rejection, the community would continue its battle for equal rights.

“It simply means we have to continue advocacy for legislating an anti-discrimination bill in Congress, where we have many allies,” Remoto said.

However, he acknowledged it will be difficult to pass a bill on gender equality in the Senate, whose leader has already ruled out approving such a measure.

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“The great stumbling block will be the Senate, peopled by Christian fundamentalists who have forgotten that there is separation of church and state in the Philippines,” he said.


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Nunes cuts off GOP lawyer when cross-examination flops as Fiona Hill outlines damning case against Trump

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Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) was forced to cut off the House GOP's own attorney after he gave former National Security Council official Fiona Hill an opportunity to outline the damning case against President Donald Trump.

Nunes' interruption came while attorney Steve Castor was asking questions about Hill's past interactions with European Union ambassador Gordon Sondland, whom she admits she got upset with after learning that he was working on Ukraine policy despite the fact that Ukraine isn't even a member of the EU.

"What I was angry about was that he wasn't coordinating with us," Hill said, referring to the National Security Council. "And what I realized was, listening to his deposition, that he was absolutely right. He wasn't coordinating with us because we weren't doing the same thing that he was doing."

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WATCH: Devin Nunes stunned after State Dept. official David Holmes knocks down his ‘black ledger’ conspiracy theory

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Intelligence Committee Ranking Republican Member Devin Nunes Thursday afternoon appeared stunned when he questioned a U.S. State Dept. official during the impeachment hearings and did not get the answer he anticipated.

Rep. Nunes has been spewing far right wing conspiracy theories during each impeachment hearing over the past two weeks, including the thoroughly debunked lie that Ukraine – not Russia – attacked the U.S. 2016 election.

(Earlier one of today’s witnesses, Dr. Fiona Hill, publicly lambasted the spreading of the false Ukraine conspiracy theory as she sat just feet away from Nunes. The video is here.)

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David Holmes blows up one of Trump’s key defenses in Ukraine extortion scheme

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David Holmes blew up one of the central arguments in the impeachment defense of President Donald Trump.

The president's Republican allies have argued that Ukraine was not aware that congressionally approved aid had been held up by the White House as Trump demanded an investigation of Joe Biden, but Holmes explained why that's wrong, reported the Washington Post.

Holmes, a political counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, told congressional investigators that Ukrainian officials seemed to have figured out that the pause, which had been reported in late August by Politico, was related to Trump's call for an investigation.

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