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Civil partnership more feasible than same-sex marriage

Delon Porcalla - The Philippine Star
Civil partnership more feasible than same-sex marriage

“We want to thank President Duterte for his support for the LGBT community. It only shows that he wants equality for all Filipinos,” neophyte Rep. Geraldine Roman of Bataan’s first district said in a statement. Robinson Niñal Jr./Presidential Photo, File

MANILA, Philippines — The country’s first transgender-lawmaker yesterday welcomed President Duterte’s latest pronouncements supporting same-sex marriage, but expressed belief that civil partnership is a more “feasible option” in the Philippine setting. 

“We want to thank President Duterte for his support for the LGBT community. It only shows that he wants equality for all Filipinos,” neophyte Rep. Geraldine Roman of Bataan’s first district said in a statement. 

However, as far as she is concerned, House Bill 6595, which legalizes civil unions and was filed by no less than Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez at the House of Representatives, is the better option. She said they have all been advocating for this. 

“The Civil Partnership Bill has definitely more chances of being approved. What we are interested in is the legal recognition and the civil rights attached to it, bearing in mind what is plausible at this point in time and without offending religious sensibilities,” Roman said. 

“Congress is a numbers game and I honestly think that at this point, my colleagues in the 17th Congress are not ready for same-sex marriage. Many of them believe that marriage is an institution with religious connotations and we respect that,” she explained further.

Roman said Alvarez’s bill aims to give “legal recognition to stable relationships, outside marriage with the corresponding civil and legal rights and obligations.” 

Roman underwent sex reassignment surgery in New York at the age of 26 and changed her name and gender. The gender in the Philippine passport she is carrying reportedly bears “female.”

Alvarez, Roman, deputy speakers Raneo Abu (Batangas) and Gwendolyn Garcia (Cebu) filed HB 6595 to legalize civil partnerships of same-sex couples and provide for their rights and obligations.

“It is about time that the Philippine government grant couples, whether they are of the opposite or of the same-sex, adequate legal instruments to recognize their partnerships, respecting their dignity and recognizing their equality before the law,” Abu said.

For her part, Garcia underscored the importance of Congress passing a law that would extend property and custodial rights to same-sex and heterosexual couples.

“I believe (it would be) of great interest to a number of our brothers and sisters, and I am speaking of civil union,” she said.

“We have to address this. This is a changing reality. It has become a growing necessity. This is to promote civil and human rights of same-sex and heterosexual couples who want to live together but are not ready to marry,” she added.

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