Duterte opposes same-sex marriage, favors civil union

Evelyn Macairan, Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
Duterte opposes same-sex marriage, favors civil union
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said legalizing civil unions would allow same-sex couples to thresh out some matters involving their relationship.
Miguel de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte is in favor of civil unions but not same-sex marriage, Malacañang said yesterday, after pollster Social Weather Stations (SWS) released a survey showing that a majority of Filipinos are against legalizing same-sex marriage.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said legalizing civil unions would allow same-sex couples to thresh out some matters involving their relationship.

“(I)f we talk about same-sex marriage, even the President is against (it). But with regard to (civil) union, the President is in favor of that so that same-sex couples can arrange some aspects of their relationship,” Roque said at a press briefing in Leyte.

“But if it’s same-sex marriage, even the President is part of the majority in opposing it,” he added.

The SWS poll conducted on March 23-27 indicated that 61 percent of Filipinos reject a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in the Philippines, while only 22 percent are in favor of it.

The nationwide survey was released after the Supreme Court finished its oral arguments on a petition seeking to make same-sex marriage legal in the predominantly Catholic Philippines.

Roque believes the same-sex marriage petition is not likely to be backed by the Supreme Court (SC).

“I don’t think the current challenge in the Supreme Court questioning the constitutionality of Article 1 of the Family Code, defining a marriage as between a man and a woman, will actually succeed on the basis of the oral arguments conducted. It does not seem to have a chance of winning in the Supreme Court. But I could be wrong,” he said.

Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman, the country’s first transgender lawmaker, has admitted that allowing civil partnerships is more doable than same-sex marriage.

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has filed a measure seeking to recognize same-sex couples’ partnerships and enumerating their rights.

Deep religiosity

Meanwhile, at least two Catholic bishops yesterday expressed their pleasure over the results of the latest SWS survey on same-sex marriage.

Bataan Bishop Ruperto Santos, chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People (CBCP-ECMI), said the SWS survey results “show the deep religiosity of the Filipinos, they still are close-knit families who value the sanctity and stability of marriage as just a man and a woman joined together in marriage, not just union or partnership of same-sex.”

He added that a family is composed of a husband, a wife and their children. A strong and united family builds up the society and makes the country peaceful and progressive.

“Same-sex union does not make a family. It is union because of common likes and dislikes,” Santos said, adding that the SC “must rule against same-sex civil union.”

Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes was also elated to hear that there are still many Filipinos who are against “nonsensical same-sex marriage.”

Bastes said that the outcome of the SWS survey “is a very good argument against the proponents of this idea when oral arguments are to be presented at the SC.”

“The SC should be sensitive to the voice of our good people who follow our Constitution that marriage is defined as union of man and woman,” he said.

“Filipino culture abhors the marriage of two men or of two women. It is unthinkable in our way of life, which is our culture,” he added.

He pointed out that same-sex marriage is a “great infraction” of the Constitution that Filipinos must uphold, based on the nation’s culture and on the citizen’s faith in the true and living God.

Since a majority of Filipinos are Christians, marriage can never be contracted with persons of the same sex, adding that even Muslims believe that same-sex marriage is “an abomination” according to the Holy Quran, the Word of Allah, based essentially on the Old Testament, the Sorsogon prelate added.

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