Understanding the proposed civil partnership bill

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 20 2017 06:26 PM

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MANILA - Civil partnerships may soon be legalized if the bill filed at the House of Representatives prospers, especially after President Rodrigo Duterte's statement supporting same-sex marriage.

Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman, the country's first transgender lawmaker and one of the authors of the bill, on Wednesday said they skipped on calling the proposal a "same-sex marriage" bill to respect religious sensibilities.

Among the provisions contained in the bill are a couple's legal and civil rights, such as inheritance, custody over children, spousal benefits, and insurance and retirement benefits.

Roman said she heard a story of someone in a same-sex relationship who was barred from seeing and taking care of their partner who had fallen into a coma and was in hospital. 

"Kawawa naman… Ang masakit kasi diyan, wala namang pagkakaiba—mayroong pagmamahalan, estable naman ang relasyon, and just like any Filipino, you just want to be happy and love one another," she told ANC's Headstart.

"Kaso, walang legal recognition, walang proteksiyon sa ilalim ng batas at walang batas. Kailangan nating punan 'yang pangangailangan na 'yan because if we believe in equality as stated in the Constitution, it did not say that this is only good for some people, but for others, no. We are all equal under the law," she said.

While the proposal does not seek to allow marriage ceremonies before religious ministers for the same-sex couple, Roman said they may have one before the administering officers stated in the Constitution.

She explained that the couple would have to declare that they are in a stable partnership and present their civil partnership license, which may be obtained from the civil registrar after presenting a series of requirements to prove that there are no legal impediments to their union.

Upon entering the civil partnership, the couple would not have conjugal regime of assets acquired after their bond unlike the current norm, said Roman.

The proposal also seeks to allow same-sex couples to adopt minors. Although the current setup allows one of them to adopt, the proposal seeks to allow them to be legally recognized as the child's legal guardians and parents, she said.

Roman also questioned the scientific basis of concerns over the supposed psychological effect of a child's rearing by a same-sex couple.

"I have also read a lot of studies that the success of child rearing does not depend on the gender of either parent. It depends on how much love, dedication and attention you give that child," she said.

Duterte over the weekend said he wants same-sex marriage legalized in the Philippines, months after initially acknowledging that it is forbidden by law.

"I want same-sex marriage. The problem is we'll have to change the law. But we can change the law," he said in a speech at an LGBT gathering in Davao. 

"The law says marriage is a union between a man and a woman. I don't have any problems making it marrying a man, marrying a woman or whatever is the predilection of the human being," he added.