By Hannah L. Torregoza
Some senators on Wednesday said they are inclined to support calls of religious groups who have taken a firm and uncompromising stance against the passage of a measure promoting same-sex marriage.
The senators, in separate interviews, said that while they are open to legislating proposals aimed at providing protection to members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, they still believe that the fundamental unit of society—the family—must be preserved.
Their statements came after the Christian Coalition for Righteousness, Justice and Truth (CCRJT), led by Jesus is Lord (JIL) Leader Bro. Eddie Villanueva, held a prayer rally at the Senate to denounce the passage of a same –sex marriage bill and the so-called anti-discrimination bill or the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) bill now pending in both houses of Congress.
“Nakasaad naman sa Family Code that marriage is between a man and woman. But we also still respect the relationship (between same sex couples). We can recognize them as such but not in the context of marriage,” said Senator Nancy Binay.
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, likewise, said he is against legislating same-sex marriage.
“I’m not in favor of same sex marriage, I believe that marriage is for man and woman. That’s the fundamental foundation of our family. So I believe that the marriage between a man and woman is sacred,” Gatchalian said.
Sen. Cynthia Villar also said she too, feels that there is no need to legislate such a same sex marriage law.
But Sen. Gregorio Honasan II said a thorough debate and discussion on these matters should be considered.
“I think the issue on same sex marriage requires broad discussion. We need to inform the public because there are moral issues,” Honasan said.
“It might impact on the integrity of the family. Handa na ba tayo para sa ganung pag iisip? (Are we ready for such concept?) And we invoke the right to life, property and liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Ako I’m open but to me, (we have to) protect the family,” he added.
Hontiveros defends SOGIE bill
Meanwhile, Sen. Risa Hontiveros said she is ready to discuss with various religious groups any concern they have on the SOGIE bill.
Hontiveros, who is pushing for the SOGIE bill in the Senate, said that while she respects the group’s opposition to the bill she is willing to sit down with the group and discuss their concerns over the measure.
But she said, there is still a need for an enabling law protecting the LGBT community because there is widespread reports of discrimination against them.
“So we still need a protective measure like an anti-discrimination bill for these disadvantage sectors,” Hontiveros said.
Hontiveros also assured that the SOGIE bill has a preventive mechanism to prevent unfounded fears it can result to a “domino effect” and eventually pave the way for the approval of a divorce law and same-sex marriage law.
“This anti-discrimination bill simply identifies and prohibits certain discriminatory acts. So even if the bill goes through a fine-toothed comb it will not lead to same sex marriage because it also upholds the definition of marriage under the Family Code,” she stressed.