Yes for civil unions; no for marriage equality.
President Rodrigo R. Duterte is said to support civil unions but not same-sex marriage, Malacañang said, just after the Supreme Court (SC) wrapped up oral arguments questioning barring same-sex marriage in the Philippines.
In June, the SC heard oral arguments on a petition filed in 2015 by Atty. Jesus Falcis III that is asking the High Court to declare Articles 1 and 2 of the Family Code unconstitutional. The provisions of the 31-year-old law limits marriage between a man and a woman. However, the 1987 Constitution does not categorically state that a marriage must be only between a man and a woman.
According to Duterte’s spokesperson, Harry Roque, the President is only against same-sex marriage but not against civil partnerships.
Roque’s statement also came at the heels of the release of the results of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey that showed that a big percentage of Filipinos still oppose civil unions.
The survey – done via face-to-face interviews from March 23 to 27, and which asked 1,200 respondents across the country whether or not they agree with the statement “there should be a law that will allow the civil union of two men or two women” – showed that at least 61% of the respondents said they would oppose a bill that would legalize this in the country. Among them, 44% said they strongly disagree, while 17% said they somewhat disagree. Meanwhile, 22% said they would support it, while 16% said they were still “undecided,”
(It is worth noting the wording used in the research, with the question asked pertaining “civil union” and not “same-sex marriage”. The two are often erroneously used interchangeably – Ed)
“Kung same-sex marriage po ang pinag-uusapan, pati po si Presidente, tutol sa same-sex marriage. Pero ‘yung (civil) union po, pabor po diyan si Presidente para lang maayos ‘yung iba’t ibang aspeto ng pagsasama ng kaparehong kasarian (Now if we’re talking about same-sex marriage, even Pres. Duterte opposes that. But with civil union, he supports that just to enable same-sex couples to remedy various aspects of their relationship),” Roque said in Maasin City.
This is not exactly the first time Duterte’s position on the matter was raised. As late as December 2017, his flip-flopping position was stressed when – speaking in Davao City at an LGBTQI yearend gathering – he said that “gusto ko ‘yung same-sex marriage. Ang problema, we will have to change the law (I support same-sex marriage. The problem is the need to change the law). But we can change the law. I don’t have a problem with man marrying a man.”
Already, a bill is being pushed in Congress to grant same-sex couples civil union. In the Lower House, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez sponsored House Bill 6595 (or the proposed Civil Partnership Act) that eyes to afford same-sex partners with the rights to insurance, inheritance, adoption, property rights, and the right to take medical decisions.
Earlier, Rep. Geraldine Roman of the 1st District of Bataan, the first trans person to become member of Congress, said that she believes in “taking baby steps” as far as pushing for marriage equality is concerned.
Roman herself supports civil unions, and is one of the proponents of House Bill 6595, believing that passage of a bill proposing recognition of civil partnership of same-sex couples may achieve the end-goal (of same-sex marriage and civil union) all the same.