Palace: Duterte in favor of same-sex civil union

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 02 2018 02:58 PM

Students pose beside an Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) advocacy standees at a university in Manila, May 25, 2018 The group is supporting the passage of the Sexual Orientation Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Bill at the Senate. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Malacañang on Monday said President Rodrigo Duterte is in favor of same-sex civil union, as the Supreme Court tackles the constitutionality of same-sex marriage in the predominantly Catholic Philippines.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte favors same-sex civil union since it will allow same-sex couples to get the same benefits accorded to heterosexual couples.

“Kung same-sex marriage, pati si presidente tutol. Pero ang [same-sex] union, pabor dyan si presidente para maayos ang ibat ibang aspeto ng pagsamama ng magka-parehong kasarinlan,” Roque said in a press briefing in Maasin, Southern Leyte.

Roque gave this statement in reaction to a Social Weather Stations survey stating that at least 61 percent of Filipinos said they would oppose a bill that would legalize same-sex “civil union” in the country.

Duterte’s chief ally at the House of Representatives, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, has sponsored a bill allowing same-sex civil union in the country.

Proponents of same-sex civil union in the country, including Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman, said they opted not to call the the process a “marriage” because it has religious connotations which will certainly earn the ire of religious institutions and conservatives.

During the oral arguments at the high court on same-sex marriage, Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio said same-sex civil union is constitutional, as it is based on the constitutional right to freedom of association.

Carpio noted the Constitution allows two people of the same sex to enter into an agreement regarding property.

Lawyer Jesus Nicardo Falcis III, who described himself in the pleading as "an open and self-identified homosexual,” is urging the high court to declare as unconstitutional Articles 1 and 2 of Executive Order (EO) No. 209, the Family Code of the Philippines, which "define and limit marriage as between man and woman."

Falcis argued that the assailed provisions in EO No. 209 violate homosexuals' right "to found a family" as protected under Section 3 (1) of the 1987 Constitution.

He also said these provisions "deprive [him] and other homosexuals the right to liberty without substantive due process of law" and "deny them the equal protection of the laws."

He further argued that the subject provisions cause lesbian and gay Filipinos to be "relegated to 2nd class citizens."

Roque said based on the developments in the oral arguments at the high court, the petition will be dismissed.