Palace: Too soon for same-sex marriage in the Philippines

Palace: Too soon for same-sex marriage in the Philippines
Roque said it might be difficult to secure a favorable ruling from the high court for the petition to allow same-sex marriage.
File photo

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is not yet ready for same-sex marriage, Malacañang said Thursday, as a Supreme Court petition seeking to legalize gay marriage sparked debates in the  predominantly Catholic country.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said it might be difficult to secure a favorable ruling from the high court for the petition to allow same-sex marriage. 

"I have several experiences filing cases before the Supreme Court. This is one of the cases I considered filing but there is a right time for some issues. And I 
believe this Supreme Court and this country is not yet ready for the same-sex marriage proposal," he said in a press briefing.

Roque said Human Rights Watch, the New York-based group that expressed hopes that same-sex marriage would be legalized, was "detached" from the recent 
developments in the high court. 

"I think, they are detached from what's happening in the Philippines' Supreme Court, because based on the declarations of justices, it seems that this case is 
difficult to win," the presidential spokesman said. 

READ: Justices ask: Where is 'actual case' in Falcis' same-sex marriage petition?

Lawyer Jesus Falcis III filed a petition seeking to legalize same-sex marriage in the country before the Supreme Court, saying the 1987 Constitution does not say that marriage should be between a man and a woman. 

The petition, however, was met with criticisms and questions by some justices during the start of the oral arguments last Tuesday. 

Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza said Falcis was in "great peril" that his case would be dismissed while Associate Justices Lucas Bersamin told the petitioner he had no case because he did not try to seek a marriage license. 

Critics of same-sex marriage pointed out that the purpose of marriage is to have children and the children adopted by same-sex couples would suffer because they would grow up in an environment that is not normal. 

The Catholic Church, the religious group of more than 80 percent of Filipinos, has said same-sex marriage is against natural law. 

Roque said some lamwkers including Rep. Geraldine Roman (Bataan) had admitted that it isn't time for same-sex marriage in the Philippines yet. 

"That's why the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community is pushing for the SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity or Expression) bill. Not just SOGI but (a bill that seeks to) recognize at least the civil partnership between individuals of the same sex because they know it is too revolutionary to accept same-sex marriage," he added. 

Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte has changed his views on same-sex marriage. 

"There was a time he (Duterte) says that he was against it. There was a time he said he's for it. So this is fluid. If I were asked as a public interest litigator, I would have waited," he said. 

"As (Supreme Court) Justice (Marvic) Leonen said, sometimes when you file test cases prematurely it will have the negative effect on the cause that you want to advance." — Alexis Romero 




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