By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senators are not yet inclined to pass a measure that would allow same-sex marriage in the country.
For Senate President Vicente Sotto III, the proposal to legalize marriage of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LBGT) couples would face rough sailing in the Upper Chamber. He, however, noted that he is open to allowing civil union of same-sex partners.
“Same sex union, no problem. Marriage? Debatable,” Sotto told reporters when asked about his stand.
The Supreme Court (SC) started last Tuesday its oral arguments on a three-year-old petition questioning the constitutionality of the some of the provisions of the Famliy Code that supposedly violate the rights of the LGBTs.
Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza, in his interpellation, advised the petitioner lawyer Jesus Falcis to refer to Congress for a legislation on same-sex marriage, saying the SC may be overreaching on the issue.
But even Senate Majority Floor Leader Juan Miguel, who had earlier expressed his support for the passage of the proposed anti-discrimination law, was mum on the possibility of discussing same-sex marriage in the Senate. He refused to comment on the matter.
Sen. Cynthia Villar, for her part, said that such a proposal may not pass in a “conservative” country like the Philippines.
“Medyo hirap tayo sa Pilipinas diyan kasi we are a Catholic country at medyo conservative pa tayo sa mga bagay na iyan (It would be difficult in the Philippines because we are still quite conservative about it). I’m not confident that we can pass that legislation,” Villar said in an interview.
Senate Minority Floor Leader Franklin Drilon, meanwhile, said needs to study the appeal for the legalization of same-sex marriage. He, however, said he is open to hearing the sectors once a bill is filed in Senate.
“If there is a bill filed, a committee hearing is a consultation. Necessarily that consultation will happen,” he said.
Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV said he has yet to look into the matter.
“I understand it’s an important issue but…I have to admit talagang di ko pa siya nagugugulan ng panahon (that I have not yet had the time to study it),” he said.
A bill seeking to recognize “civil partnerships” of same-sex couples and grant them same rights has been pending at the House of Representatives. It was filed by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.