On same-sex unions, LP bets Roxas, Robredo differ

Bea Cupin
On same-sex unions, LP bets Roxas, Robredo differ
Should government adopt 'same-sex' unions as a policy?

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – They’re both running on the promise of continuity and say they share the same principles of good governance. But when it comes to the sticky issue of same-sex marriage, Liberal Party presidential bet Manuel Roxas II and his running mate, Leni Robredo, apparently differ.

Bilang public policy para sa akin ay hindi ako pabor dito. Subalit… may mga kamag-anak ako na close na close [who] have partners and nirerespeto ko sila, minamahal ko sila, tinatanggap ko sila. Bukas-puso, bukas-loob ang aking pagtrato sa kanila,” Roxas said in an interview with GMA News anchor Mel Tiangco, portions of which were aired Sunday, January 31.

(As a public policy, I’m not in favor of [same-sex marriage]. I have relatives who I’m close to and have partners and I respect them, I love them, I accept them wholeheartedly.)

Roxas was asked if he was in favor of same-sex marriage “as a public policy,” according to a report on GMA News Online. The particular portion where he was asked about same-sex marriage did not air on Sunday. 

In contrast, Robredo had said that government should consider legalizing same-sex unions but not necessarily same-sex marriage. “Dapat yung gobyerno open tingnan yung civil unions (The government should be open and look into the possibility of civil unions),” the Camarines Sur Representative said in an earlier interview aired over DZMM.

Said Robredo in a separate interview with Winnie Monsod: “Sa akin naman kasi ‘pag illegal yung same-sex na partnership, kahit civil union lang yan parang very discriminatory. Yung gobyerno naman, it’s for everyone… who you choose to live with is a human right na hindi pwedeng paki-alamanan sana ng gobyerno.”

(To me, if same-sex partnerships are illegal, even civil unions, that’s very discriminatory. The government is for everyone. Who you choose to live with is a human right that the government should not meddle in.)

At least two other presidential bets have voiced their opinion on the issue of same-sex unions.

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is “open” to legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage but has yet to make a final standIndependent presidential bet Senator Grace Poe, meanwhile, said in a January 28 CNN Philippines forum that she is in favor of same-sex unions. 

In the United States, a civil union gives partners the same protection as married couples, but only at the state level. Marriages entitle partners to protections at the federal level.

Same-sex marriages are legal in the United States, although it continues to be met with resistance from some sectors. 

President Benigno Aquino III, chairman of the ruling LP, has said he is not keen on supporting same-sex marriage in the Philippines. In May last year, a petition was filed before the Philippine Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage. The government through the Solicitor General has asked the High Court to dismiss that petition. 

On divorce

When it came to another sticky issue – divorce – Roxas and Robredo were more on the same page.

Roxas said he was part of the 40% not in favor of divorce, referring to an opinion poll that said 3 out of 5 Filipinos are in favor of divorce.

Para sa akin ang pamilya ang sentro ng buhay ng bawat tao ,’di ba? So dapat gawin nating lahat na manatiling matatag ang pamilya, paniwala ko rin na ang katatagan ng ating bansa,” said Roxas.

(For me, the family is the center of each person’s life, right? So we should do everything to ensure that the family remains intact and I think that’s our country’s foundation.)

Instead of divorce, Robredo is in favor of revisiting grounds for annulment in the country.

The Philippines is only one of two countries that have yet to legalize divorce, the other being the Vatican City, seat of the Catholic Church.

Lawmakers in the Philippines also encountered resistance from the Catholic Church when they pushed for the Reproductive Health Law in 2013. – Rappler.com

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.