Photo by Ron Soliman.
Story by Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau – LIBERTY STATE PARK, New Jersey – A Filipino same-sex couple who celebrated their union with a lavish party said legal recognition makes a wedding day even more special.
Newlywed couple Anna Zapata and Sharda Roodal met a decade ago. They have been together for more than 8 years. But it is only now that they finally tied the knot, thanks to New York’s same-sex law that took effect last July 24.
“It means so much to me to be able to say to the rest of the world that she’s with me, for life and nobody can take that away from us. Love is free but this is like monumental,” said Zapata.
“Definitely, it’s a new feeling, having it legal and having a ceremony, getting a legal document and everything. There is something just a little more special about that…more real and more definitive. It’s definitely been a really special moment for us,” said Roodal.
A year ago, the couple’s original plan was to get married in the State of Connecticut. The couple was determined to get married even if it was not yet legal in New York–the state that recognizes out of state same-sex marriages.
When it was finally passed in New York, the couple got married at City Hall and had a lavish reception at the State Liberty Park in New Jersey.
They said being able to share their very special day with friends and family made it more meaningful.
Difficult for Catholics
“Filipinos being Catholics, it’s probably a little more difficult for the community to embrace the idea of same-sex marriage,” said Angelo Baizas.
His wife, Karen, said, “But it’s a start. Today is a start.”
“It doesn’t matter to me as long as 2 people are in love they can support each other emotionally and they can depend on each other. Then, why not?” Angelo added.
Same-sex marriage continues to be a big hit in New York. LGBT couples have accounted for 1 in every 5 new marriages in New York City since it was legalized.
But same-sex marriage is not widely accepted by most Catholic and conservative Filipino families.
Roodal’s mother, Linda, said now is the time for Filipinos to learn to accept gay marriage. She said she did because of her unconditional love for her only daughter.
“Kahit ano pa ang naging desisyon nila sa buhay, anak mo pa din yun. Kaya para sa akin, yung mga nanay na kagaya ko na nagkaroon ng anak na pinili nila maging gay sila o anuman, walang pagkakaiba yun, tanggapin ninyo yung anak niyo. Kasi mahalin nyo ang anak niyo. You have to support them,” Roodal’s mother said.