‘It’s civil union, not marriage’
BATAAN Rep. Geraldine Roman, the first Filipino transgender legislator, on Tuesday threw her support behind a bill to be filed by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez III that would legalize civil unions between same-sex couples.
It fell on Roman to clarify that what Alvarez meant was a “civil union” and not “same-sex marriage” as he had earlier told reporters.
“It was clear in his mind that what he wants [in the bill] is a civil union. He just mentioned marriage. It was something inadvertent. What he really means is civil union,” Roman said at a press conference.
The difference between the terms “civil union” and “marriage” is merely “semantics,” Roman said. But she said some in the religious sector wanted to keep an exclusive hold on the word “marriage.” She said she would not object to their keeping the word as long as same-sex couples had “civil rights, human rights, and equality enshrined in the Constitution.”
Roman said Alvarez also mentioned that he was looking into different formulas “to address the need to recognize the rights of same-sex partners when it came to inheritance of property, the right to make medical decisions, and the possibility of adoption.”
The inclusion of civil partnerships for heterosexual couples in the bill is also being studied, she said.
But Roman said the passage of the antidiscrimination bill, which she authored, is more urgent forit deals with “very specific incidents of discrimination against members of the LGBT.”
To date, more than 150 lawmakers have signified their support for the bill.
On the other hand, bishops of the Catholic Church opposed Alvarez’s planned measure legalizing the union of same-sex couples.
Lipa Bishop Ramon Arguelles said same-sex marriage was “against divine law and natural human law.”
He said the intent of marriage is to form a family and raise children, and parents who are of the same gender are “not normal.”
“That’s not normal, the children are to be pitied. A child may say it’s OK but it’s not normal. A husband and wife in the eyes of God is a man and a woman,” Arguelles said.
Malolos Bishop Jose Oliveros said, “It is not a matter of rights but rather a matter of what is contrary to the nature of marriage.”
The group EnGendeRights welcomed Alvarez’s bill, saying “the right to marry is a basic human right that everyone should enjoy—heterosexuals and LGBTI(intersex) people alike.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.