The House of Representatives will act swiftly in passing two controversial social reform measures–divorce and same-sex marriage — that could invite strong objections from the leadership of the Catholic church.
Deputy Speakers Gwendolyn Garcia (PDP-Laban, Cebu) and Sharon Garin (AAMBIS-OWA Partylist) said House Bill 6027 that provides for additional grounds for the dissolution of marriage and H.B. 6595 that allows civil partnership of persons in opposite- or same-sex relationship will be sent for plenary action soon.
“This is a Congress that is not afraid to take the bull by the horns,” Garcia said in a press conference.
Both bills are authored by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez. Critics have said that HB 6027 is a “disguised divorce” while H.B. 6595 is a variation of same-sex marriage.
Garcia, one of the authors of the H.B. 6027, said Alvarez wanted the bill to be passed by December before Congress takes its yuletide break.
Garcia said H.B. 6595 is expected to be tackled in the plenary by December while HB 6027 will be taken up immediately by the House Committee on Revision of Laws.
“Its about time to discuss these concepts because it is a humane thing to do,” said Garin. She pointed out that the measures are “revolutionary ideas” that must pass acknowledged moral standards.
The authors of H.B. 6027 “intends to ease the access of legal process to terminate a marriage.” Alvarez and his co-authors said the bill provides for a process of annulment of marriage that is not “extremely adversarial in nature” and inexpensive as compared to Executive Order NO. 209 or the Family Code of the Philippines that provides the grounds for annulment.
Under the bill, marriage may be dissolved based on irreconciliable differences or “severe and chronic unhappiness” of the spouses which may cause irreparable breakdown of marriage.
Meanwhile, H.B. 6595 recognizes civil partnership of same sex couples and heterosexual couples.
“It aims to be a landmark effort to provide civil rights, benefits and responsibilities to couples, previously unable to marry, by giving them due recognition and protection from the State,” explained Alvarez.
“Ultimately, at the core of a civil partnership are two fully consenting adults who, like many Filipinos, merely wish to love, care and support each other as they build a life together during their fleeting time here on earth,” he stated.