Filipino man marries male partner of 15 years at San Francisco Lutheran Church

Same-sex marriage is yet to be legalized in the U.S. but that didn't stop a Filipino from recently marrying his partner of 15 years. Filipino Benjie Aquino, 58, married his longtime partner Dion Wong, 66, on June 19 at the St. Francis Lutheran Church in San Francisco, reports Balitang America.

Aquino told Balitang America, "I did not wait [for same-sex marriage to be legalized] anymore. I don't really care. It's our life."Wong said, "I want to show everyone that even though we're a same-sex couple, our relationship is just as valid as any other relationship. There's just as much love, maybe even more involved."

Their wedding was officiated by Rev. Robert Goldstein, who is also gay, from the Lutheran Church, one of the religions open to same-sex marriage. Goldstein said, "There's no requirement. It's an expression of their love and a reaffirmation that God loves them."Balitang America says the couple started as phone pals in 1995 and even then, they knew they would grow old together. They were joined in domestic partnership at the San Francisco City Hall in 2002 but they wanted to get married in a church for their 15th anniversary.

Given their age, they don't plan to raise children but they have already sent more than 100 students to high school in Nueva Vizcaya, Aquino's hometown. The couple will continue providing scholarships to less fortunate students in the Philippines.

The ban on same-sex marriage in California, Proposition 8, was passed by California voters on November 2008. It amended a California Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage on May 2008.

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