MANILA - A bill that will legalize same-sex unions will do away with an administrative officer to avoid making it appear like a marriage, said one lawmaker involved in the deliberations.
Under the Civil Unions Bill, same sex or opposite sex couples who are seeking legal recognition of their partnership only need to sign a contract and submit it to their local civil registry, said Bagong Henerasyon party list Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy, who chairs the House Committee on Women and Gender Equality.
Same sex marriage, alongside divorce, is illegal in the Philippines, the bastion of Catholicism in Asia where roughly 80 percent of its 100 million people subscribe to the religion.
"So far, tinanggal na natin yung administrating officer para di na siya ma-equate to a same sex marriage," Herrera-Dy told reporters.
(We took out the administrating officer so that it won't be equated with same sex marriage.)
"It's really going to be a civil partnership contract of couples, whether same sex or opposite sex," she said.
The rights of couples in civil partnerships are still being deliberated upon by the bills' authors to "identify which of the existing laws can be amended,"she said.
These may cover provisions on adoption, inheritance, signing hospital waivers or claiming bodies in case of death, she said.
The next deliberations on the are scheduled on March 19, 2 days before Congress goes on its summer recess.
"It is a priority measure of the speaker….We'll see if we can already pass it out of the committee," said Herrera-Dy.