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Most Senators oppose proposal to legalize same-sex marriage

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By Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senators are afraid that the proposals to legalize the marriage of same-sex couples in the country will face an uphill climb in the Upper Chamber especially after a latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) showing that majority of Filipinos are against it.

The senators pause for a photo before the opening of the second regular session of the 17th Congress at the Senate yesterday. Seated, from left, are: Senators Cynthia Villar, Nancy Binay, Franklin Drilon, Ralph Recto, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, Vicente Sotto, Loren Legarda, Grace Poe, Risa Hontiveros, (standing) Richard Gordon, Miguel Zubiri, Panfilo Lacson, Gringo Honasan, Edgardo Angara Jr., JV Ejercito, Emmanuel Pacquiao, (third row) Joel Villanueva, Benigno ‘Bam’ Aquino, Francis Escudero, and Sherwin Gatchalian. (Ali Vicoy | Manila Bulletin)

The senators pause for a photo before the opening of the second regular session of the 17th Congress at the Senate yesterday. Seated, from left, are: Senators Cynthia Villar, Nancy Binay, Franklin Drilon, Ralph Recto, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, Vicente Sotto, Loren Legarda, Grace Poe, Risa Hontiveros, (standing) Richard Gordon, Miguel Zubiri, Panfilo Lacson, Gringo Honasan, Edgardo Angara Jr., JV Ejercito, Emmanuel Pacquiao, (third row) Joel Villanueva, Benigno ‘Bam’ Aquino, Francis Escudero, and Sherwin Gatchalian. (Ali Vicoy | Manila Bulletin)

Senate Majority Floor Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri on Saturday admitted that the approval of any measure on same-sex marriage may face difficulty as “almost all” of the senators, he said, are also opposed to the proposal.

He himself admitted that he will vote against the it.

“I believe the same-sex marriage will have a very difficult time in the senate as I personally asked several of my colleagues about it in the past and almost all of them have signified their opposition to it,” Zubiri told reporters in a text message, when asked to comment on the result of the survey.

“I personally have serious reservations on it and I’m inclined not to vote for it for personal and religious beliefs. In other words, dadaan pa siya sa butas nang karayom sa Senado (it would have to go through the eye of the needle in Senate),” he added.

Sen. Sonny Angara, for his part, particularly noted that public opinion is a huge consideration to senators.

“Senators are quite sensitive to public opinion so it may play a role. I also expect some senators who are members or close to some religious groups to not be in favour of this. Thus I foresee a lot of vigorous debates on the bill going forward,” he said in a separate text message.

Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, meanwhile, said the appeals for the legalization of same sex marriage must be clarified.

“Dapat ipaliwanag muna ng mabuti. Ano ba ang layunin at laman ng panukala na ‘yan (It should first be explained carefully. What are the objectives and contents of that proposal),” Pimentel sad.

Minority Sen. Francis Pangilinan, for his part, said he is looking at civil union for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) couples instead of “marriage”.

“You can’t call it a marriage dahil iba ang pagkilala ng ating mga batas (because our laws have different acknowledgement on) what constitutes family and marriage,” Pangilinan said in a radio interview Saturday.

“Kumbaga kilalanin, dahil merong talagang ganung klaseng relasyon…Gusto ko malaman paano ang pagkilala sa mga ganitong samahan, how do we look at this. ‘Yong civil union in terms of property relations, between two parties sa ganitong samahan,” he noted.

Pangilinan added that he prefers to wait for the ruling of the Supreme Court in its ongoing oral arguments on the petition for questioning the provisions the Family Code on marriage.

An SWS poll revealed Saturday that about 61 percent of Filipinos disagree with the proposed law that would permit same-sex marriages in the country.

At present, no bill on the marriage or civil union of same-sex couples is filed in Senate. But the House of Representative has a measure seeking to recognize “civil partnerships” of same-sex couples and grant them same rights.

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