MANILA - Catholic lawmakers "no longer have a basis" to refuse to pass a civil union law for same-sex couples, after this was endorsed by Pope Francis, Malacañang said Thursday.
The civil union of homosexuals in the Catholic-majority Philippines "has always been supported" by President Rodrigo Duterte, said his spokesman Harry Roque.
"Depende na lang iyan sa prioridad ng Kongreso," he told reporters. "Pero (but) with no less than the Pope supporting it, I think even the most conservative of all Catholics in Congress should no longer have a basis for objecting."
(That will just depend on the priority of Congress.)
The leader of the Catholic Church opposes same-sex marriage, but said in an interview for a new documentary that he backed civil unions to ensure same-sex couples can be legally recognized.
Same-sex marriage is legal in 28 countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Uruguay and the United States.
Last year, Taiwan became the first place in Asia to allow gay marriages.
Drives for same-sex marriage in the Philippines have faced stiff opposition from some religious groups.