Duterte supports same-sex civil union, says Malacañang

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte may be against same-sex marriage but he is all for the legalization of same-sex civil unions, said Malacañang on Monday, July 2.

"Si Presidente tutol sa same-sex marriage pero 'yung union po, pabor po diyan si Presidente," said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque during a press conference in Maasin City, Southern Leyte.

(The President opposes same-sex marriage but as for union, the President is in favor of it.)

Same-sex civil union has Duterte's nod because it "fixes the different aspects of the union of those of the same sex," said Roque in Filipino.

One of Duterte's key allies in Congress, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, is the main backer of a bill legalizing same-sex civil union in the House of Representatives.

Civil union for same-sex couples would grant them legal status as a couple and give them the same rights as heterosexual couples when it comes to inheritance of wealth and property, right to adopt children, and make critical medical decisions for their spouse, among others.

Bataan 1st District Representative Geraldine Roman, the country's first transwoman legislator and a supporter of the same-sex civil union bill, has said that the only difference between a civil union and marriage is that marriage has a "religious connotation."

Duterte's stance on same-sex marriage has been ever evolving. Back in the 2016 presidential campaign, he said he was "open" to legalizing same-sex marriage. In March 2017, he rejected it, saying the Civil Code only recognizes marriage between a man and a woman, and noting that the Philippines remains a predominantly Catholic country.

But months after, in December 2017, Duterte said the law can be changed to recognize same-sex marriage. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.