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Solons oppose Alvarez’ same-sex union proposal

/ 07:37 PM October 03, 2016

LAWMAKERS in the House of Representatives on Monday opposed the move of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to file a bill legalizing same-sex union in the Philippines.

In a statement, Buhay Representative Lito Atienza said he was “disappointed” that Alvarez has eyed supporting same-sex union instead of focusing on the administration’s priority legislative agenda of federalism.

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He added that naturally, marriage should be between man and woman only.

“We are very much bothered by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez’s statement that he would sponsor a bill that would seek the legalization of same sex marriage. Marriage, as defined by law, is a union between a man and a woman. We are ready to defend the rights of anyone especially those in the LGBT community. But marriage should exclusively be, as intended by nature, for a man and a woman,” Atienza said.

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“I am quite disappointed that the Speaker would make such a commitment. We thought all along that his priority is federalism and not same sex marriage,” he added.

In an interview, Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco said the Philippines is still not ready to allow the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) couples to be married, especially with the country’s deep Catholic roots.

“You can love each other without getting married. They (LGBT) know the limits of their situation. The society is not ready for it,” Tiangco said.

Tiangco said instead of allowing LGBT couples, Congress may pass a law to give LGBT couples the right to conjugal property.

“We can just make a law that if you have lived together for a certain period of time, then you will be eligible for conjugal property without getting married,” Tiangco said.

READ: Alvarez to file bill on same-sex union

In a press briefing on Monday, Alvarez said he would sponsor the bill allowing same sex union, adding that it’s about time to respect the constitutional rights of the LGBT community to be happy.

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“Tingnan mo yung Constitution natin. May provisions dun guaranteeing happiness sa mga Pilipino. Eh bakit naman ipagkait natin yun? Sa akin naman, ako’y nakikiisa dun sa ating mga kapatid na LGBT. Kung happy sila dun, bakit hindi natin suportahan?” Alvarez said.

Alvarez said his proposal would allow LGBT couples legal right to have civil union as recognized by the court.

He said his move was meant to send a message that it’s about time for the Philippines to allow same sex union.

“Gusto ko lang ipakita na gingalang natin at nakikiisa ako dun sa mga kapatid natin na LGBT. At para din yung dignity rin nila, masuportahan natin,” Alvarez said.

Alvarez said his proposal would amend the Family Code, which limits union between man and woman.

He said he does not mind if the Catholic Church or deeply religious lawmakers would oppose the bill, noting that it’s part of democracy.

Alvarez said in the end, democracy is about the rule of the majority.

“Kaya nga tayo demokrasya, mayroon talagang opposition. Wala namang walang opposition. But the beauty of democracy is we can argue, we can disagree, but at the end of the day, it’s still the majority that prevails,” Alvarez said.

In the 16th Congress, then Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said it would be impossible for Congress to legalize same sex marriage in the country with its deep Catholic roots.

READ: Belmonte: Same sex marriage law in PH ‘impossible’ | Solon bats for bill on same-sex marriage

In 2015, openly gay lawyer Jesus Falcis III asked the Supreme Court to abolish the prohibition on same sex marriage in the Family Code.

The Office of the Solicitor General under the previous administration of erstwhile president Benigno Aquino III opposed the petition, saying it was “intrinsically flawed.”

Falcis asked the Supreme Court to nullify Articles 1 and 2 of the Family Code, and Articles 46 (4) and 55 (6) of the same law. Articles 1 and 2 limit marriage between man and woman; Articles 46(4) and 55 (6) cited homosexuality as grounds for annulment and legal separation.

READ: SC asked to allow same-sex marriage | SolGen asks SC to junk ‘intrinsically flawed’ same-sex marriage bid

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TAGS: Lito Atienza, Pantaleon Alvarez, Philippine News, same sex marriage
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