Rep. Lagman files bill to protect same-sex couples’ property rights
MANILA, Philippines — Same-sex couples who live together should enjoy the protection of their property rights, just like heterosexual couples, according to Albay Rep. Edcel “Grex” Lagman Jr.
Lagman has filed such a bill to govern property ownership by cohabiting same-sex couples, which would allow them to decide whether to co-own the properties they acquire while living together, or to maintain exclusive ownership singly.
The bill would protect the couple’s partnerships and property not only from third persons but even from each other, similar to the protection given to heterosexual couples, he said.
He said his bill was part of the move to recognize and protect the rights of members of the so-called LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community, especially considering that many same-sex couples are coming out into the open.
“In the Philippines, homosexual behavior is interwoven in historical narrative and is now brought to the forefront by popular media. As more and more of our countrymen come out with such relationships and choose to co-habitate, it is incumbent upon us legislators to acknowledge and equate them to heterosexual couples,” he said in a statement.
Under the bill, same-sex couples who live together could register their partnership with the local Civil Registrar. The registration should include the couple’s agreement on property arrangements. This could either be co-ownership of properties acquired during their cohabitation, or exclusivity of properties.
Lagman said the same rationale governing existing property laws should apply to the laws concerning same-sex couples.
“Property laws are grounded on: first, recognition that partners make equal though different contributions to the financial well-being of the relationship and therefore equal division is a fair presumption to make if and when the partnership ends, second, ensure that the more financially vulnerable member of the partnership is protected if and when the relationship breaks up, and, finally, provide for a more expeditious process for resolving disputes. These same rationales should apply to property relations of same sex couples who have opted to co-habitate and register their partnership,” he said.