MANILA (UPDATE) - Majority of Filipinos are against legalizing same-sex marriage in the Philippines, the Social Weather Stations (SWS) said in a survey released on the last day of Pride Month.
At least 61 percent of respondents said they would oppose a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in the country. Among them, 44 percent said they strongly disagree while 17 percent said they somewhat disagree.
Some 22 percent, meanwhile, said they would support it, while 16 percent said they were still "undecided," the survey showed.
The SWS also said 74 percent of respondents who were affiliated with the Iglesia ni Cristo and 70 percent of those from other Christian denominations were against same-sex marriage.
Among Muslim and Roman Catholic respondents, 60 percent were opposed to same-sex unions, the survey showed.
The survey 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."
The survey was done via face-to-face interviews from March 23 to 27. SWS did not mention the sexual orientation of the respondents. It had sampling error margins of ±3 percent for national percentages and ±6 percent each for Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
The public poll came shortly after the Supreme Court concluded oral arguments on a petition seeking to allow same-sex marriage in the Philippines.
The plea was filed by lawyer Jesus Nicardo Falcis III, "an open and self-identified homosexual,” who asked the court to invalidate provisions in the Family Code of the Philippines that "define and limit marriage as between man and woman."
Solicitor General Jose Calida opposed the petition and argued that the 1987 Constitution only allows the union between a man and a woman.
"Same-sex couples can live happily together but they cannot demand that the state recognize same-sex marriages because the Constitution doesn't allow such unions," he said.
WHAT SENATORS SAY
Some senators, meanwhile, expressed apprehension about passing a law that allows same-sex unions in the country.
"I believe the same-sex marriage will have a very difficult time in the Senate as I personally asked several of my colleagues about it in the past and almost all of them have signified their opposition to it," Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said, noting that he had "serious reservations" on the matter.
Sen. JV Ejercito, meanwhile, said public opinion would play a factor in tackling a law on same-sex marriage.
"We in the Senate, being representatives, are very sensitive to the pulse of the people. Definitely, the pulse will play a factor in our decisions towards controversial and sensitive issues such as same-sex marriage. Or better, it will be quite a challenge to have it passed," he said.
Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III said a clear explanation on the proposal to legalize same-sex marriage is necessary.
"Dapat ipaliwanag muna ng mabuti ano ba ang layunin at laman ng panukala na 'yan," he said.
(It should be explained clearly what the goal and meaning of that proposal is.)
- with a report from Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News