A proposal to legalize same-sex marriage in the Philippines is raising eyebrows in many quarters.
People are understandably intrigued by the proposal because Philippine society is a conservative one, and radical proposals such as same-sex marriage are difficult, if not impossible, to accept.
Ordinary people cannot imagine two individuals of the same sex legally living together as husband and wife.
There are suggestions that a bill legalizing same-sex marriage be filed in the House of Representatives which would conduct hearings on the matter to find out the pulse of the people on the issue.
We see a zero chance of such bill to be approved by Congress. Many lawmakers don’t like to upset the apple cart. This was shown by the repeated failure of Congress to enact a divorce law.
We also expect the Church to oppose a same-sex marriage bill. It has been rejecting the proposed divorce law. And because the Philippines is a predominantly Catholic country, majority of politicians have aligned their positions on important issues with those of the Church.
On same-sex marriage, Malacanang said the country, as well as the Supreme Court (SC), is not yet ready for it.
“I do really believe that the Supreme court and the country are not yet ready for this kind of proposal of marriage between persons of same sex,” Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press briefing.
He said even lawmakers, including the first transgender member of the House of Representative, Geraldine Roman, have said time has not yet come to push same-sex marriage bill in Congress.
Roque said what the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community is pushing for in Congress is the passage of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity or Expression (SOGI), which aims to end discrimination of LGBTs.
Roque said the lawmakers believe Filipinos would find it hard to accept same-sex marriage because it’s “too revolutionary”.
“They knew that it’s too revolutionary perhaps for the society to accept same-sex marriage,” Roque said.
He said even President Duterte has changed his mind on same-sex marriage legalization. “There was a time he said he was against it. There was a time he said he was for it. So this is really fluid.”
“As Justice (Marvic Mario Victor) Leonen said: ‘Sometimes when you file these cases prematurely, it will have negative effect on the cause that you want to advance.’”
Last June 19, the SC heard for the first time oral arguments on a same-sex marriage petition seeking for its legalization.
How the SC will rule on the petition we don’t know but we note, though, that several SC justices are seen as conservative.
With the foregoing discussion, we expect that a same-sex marriage bill would be dead in the water even before it is filed in Congress.