Gatchalian: PH not yet ready for same-sex marriage

Jee Y. Geronimo
Gatchalian: PH not yet ready for same-sex marriage
The Valenzuela lawmaker, a senatorial aspirant in 2016, also believes the country needs 'limited' divorce when there's violence and abuse in the relationship

MANILA, Phillippines – While Valenzuela representative and senatorial candidate Sherwin Gatchalian believes in equal opportunity for all, he thinks the Philippines is not yet ready for same-sex marriage.

“I think the Philippines is not ready for gay marriage yet. I think we need to talk about this more, and it’s good that a lot of countries are already talking about this,” Gatchalian said on Wednesday, November 11, in an interview on Rappler’s #TheLeaderIWant series.

Still, he supports equal opportunities for the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community, “especially in employment” and other rights.

His statement comes at a time when a petition is lodged at the Supreme Court asking the tribunal to lift same-sex marriage prohibitions in the Family Code. The SC has already ordered the government to comment on the petition.

But a recent survey showed 7 in 10 Filipinos disagree with same-sex marriage being allowed in the Philippines, a predominantly Catholic country.

‘Limited’ divorce

As for divorce – also a controversial topic in the Philippines – Gatchalian said that he believes in the sanctity of marriage and the need to strengthen family as the basic unit of society.

But he believes the country needs “limited” divorce for extreme cases wherein there is violence and abuse in the relationship. He explained that such a measure will give a spouse – whether a man or a woman – an ability to move on in life.

“I don’t believe in a no-fault divorce, that you could just one day wake up and separate from your partner. We believe that there has to be concrete reasons and concrete evidence to be able to do that,” he added.

The Philippines may be the only country in the world – save for Vatican City – that has not legalized divorce, although support for divorce has been on an upward trend since 2005. 

In fact, a survey in March showed 6 out of 10 Filipinos are in favor of legalizing divorce.

Gatchalian is a member of the Nationalist People’s Coalition, the party widely believed to be supporting the tandem of senators Grace Poe and Francis Escudero. 

He is an exclusive candidate under Poe’s Senate slate. (READ: What can Grace Poe’s senatorial bets offer?) – Rappler.com

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Jee Y. Geronimo

Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.