'My Husband's Lover' bill: Penalize same-sex adultery
MANILA, Philippines – What if you find yourself in the shoes of Lally, that character in a teleserye whose husband is having an affair with a gay man?
You currently don’t have any recourse under our Revised Penal Code, but Albay Rep Edcel Lagman wants to cure that with House Bill 2352.
His proposed law seeks to provide wives and husbands the option to sue their partners who are committing same-sex adultery.
Dubbed as the "My Husband's Lover" bill, the measure seeks to broaden the definition of adultery under Article 333 of the Revised Penal Code to include same-sex extramarital affairs.
The bill was named after the popular GMA-7’s hit show.
Under laws governing crimes against chastity, a married woman caught having sexual relations with a man other than her husband can be imprisoned for committing adultery.
Under current law, adultery occurs when a married woman has sex with a man other than her husband. On the other hand, a man who has sex with a woman other than his wife commits concubinage.
Meanwhile, a married man who who has sexual intercourse with another woman can be charged with concubinage, which carries lighter penalties.
Criminal charges for same-sex affairs involving married individuals are, however, non-existent.
“But what if a married woman engages in a sexual activity with another woman?" Lagman said in a statement. "Conversely, what if the married man engages in a sexual activity with another man? Under the present law, no crime is committed here.”
A practising lawyer before he became a congressman, Lagman had been consulted about similar dilemmas by clients.
"If this bill passes, legal recourse can now be had by an aggrieved spouse against her husband's gay lover or his wife's lesbian lover," Lagman said.
The Philippine Constitution only allows marriage between a man and a woman.
‘LGBTs should support this’
Although Lagman said he is supportive of gender equality and rights of the LGBT community, he believes "we must not limit its concept with the positive side of things."
“Just like in marriage, equality should be 'present for better or for worse.' Meaning, equality must be upheld both in the rewards as well as in the sanctions for violations handed by society through innovative laws,” Lagman said.
“Every person must also be prepared to accept and carry the burden of equal liability and responsibility. That is the true essence of democracy,” the Albay representative continued.
Lawyer Ariel Enrile-Inton Jr, a gay rights advocate, pledged his support for the measure. He said he hopes the LGBT community takes on the mindset not only to be "beneficiaries of progressive laws that advance their interests" but also those that puts them "on the same footing for laws that provide penal sanctions."
Lagman is the son of former Albay Rep Edcel Lagman, principal proponent of another controversial bill that became the reproductive health law in the 15th Congress. – Rappler.com