House Speaker wants same-sex marriage legalized

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 03 2016 05:37 PM | Updated as of Jan 11 2018 05:51 PM

House Speaker wants same-sex marriage legalized 1
A couple kiss after a same sex wedding ceremony officiated by Reverend CJ Agbayani of the Christian Church Inc. in Quezon City. Reuters/File

MANILA - A key ally of President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said he is filing a bill to legalize same-sex marriages in the Philippines.

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez revealed this in a press conference at the House of Representatives.

Alvarez said, "Dumadami na yung population ng LGBT. Gusto ko lang ipadala ang mensahe na iginagalang natin ang karapatan na."

[The population of LGBTs is increasing. I want to tell them that we respect their rights]

He said the even the Constitution guarantees a person's happiness. 

Alvarez said he is still looking for a co-sponsor for the bill.

Alvarez clarified the planned bill will only cover civil marriage and will not cover marriages solemnized by the church. 

House Deputy Speaker Pia Cayetano welcomed Alvarez's initiative. "It will pave the way for healthy discussions on these issues that affect the lives of millions of our kababayans in the LGBT community." 

"Inabot ko pa po yung time that certain issues were considered taboo like the RH Bill, and it took a long while for us to even attempt to discuss this in what I feel is a healthy and a productive way. But I feel that the time has come that we should be able to set aside our biases, our discomfort, because as legislators, we should be able to talk about this issue whenever it affects the lives of our kababayans. And so I look forward to this measure that will be filed by the Speaker of the House," she said.

Other lawmakers appeared cold toward the proposal. 

BUHAY party-list Rep. and Senior Deputy Minority Leader Lito Atienza said, "We are very much bothered by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez’s statement that he would sponsor a bill that would seek the legalization of same sex marriage. Marriage, as defined by law, is a union between a man and a woman. We are ready to defend the rights of anyone especially those in the LGBT community. But marriage should exclusively be, as intended by nature, for a man and a woman. I am quite disappointed that the Speaker would make such a commitment. We thought all along that his priority is federalism and not same sex marriage. We hope that he will change his mind."

Camsur Rep. LRay Villafuerte said the proposal is controversial. "It has to be discussed."

Quezon City Rep. Bingbong Crisologo, meanwhile, said he is personally against it. "I'm an advocate of the word of God. Clearly the Bible forbids same-sex marriage. I guess i would vote against it."

Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco said he is also opposing the proposal.

This could be the second time a same-sex marriage bill is filed in the lower House. Bohol Rep. Rene Relampagos in 2011 filed House Bill 4269 which among others sought to amend the Family Code of the Philippines to recognize same-sex marriages overseas.