Legalization of same-sex civil union favors equal rights and will not be detrimental to the country, a transgender lawmaker said on Tuesday.
Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman, the first ever transgender to be elected to the Philippine Congress, made the statement after Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez of Davao del Norte announced that he is working on a bill legalizing same-sex marriage.
Roman, who had talked to Alvarez before holding a news conference, noted that the Speaker was pushing for a bill on same-sex civil union, not same-sex marriage.
Under the country’s Family Code, marriage is defined as “a special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman entered into in accordance with law for the establishment of conjugal and family life.”
The code also provides that “no marriage shall be valid, unless these essential requisites are present: a) legal capacity of the contracting parties who must be a male and a female; and b) consent freely given in the presence of the solemnizing officer.”
“What the Speaker wants is a guarantee of equal rights to two people who love each other, and it just so happens that they are of the same sex. Civil union among [non-married] heterosexual [man and woman]couples is provided in our law, so the Speaker’s legal team is looking at recognizing civil union for same-sex partners. If you noticed, I am saying same-sex civil union instead of marriage. That’s because marriage tends to be associated with religion,” Roman, who is in favor of same-sex civil union, pointed out.
Roman then disclosed that Alvarez is working on a bill that would recognize the rights of same-sex couples to inheritance of property, decide on the health condition of an ill partner and adopting children–privileges that are only accorded to married heterosexual couples and even unmarried heterosexual couples after living together for at least five years.
“I am in favor of legalizing same-sex civil union. I cannot stand for equality and against discrimination of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) if I cannot stand in favor of this. Otherwise, that would be hypocritical. I am not a hypocrite,” Roman told reporters.
“I would like to congratulate the Speaker for starting the ball rolling. He is working on a formula on how this will work… to make it generally acceptable. After all, the sky will not fall if we would legalize same-sex civil union. Our economy will not crash by legalizing same-sex civil union,” Roman said.
Roman believes that same-sex couples are capable of raising children just as much as heterosexual couples.
“I know children who were raised by same-sex couples who turned out to be happy children. I don’t think the success of child-rearing is dependent on the gender orientation of the parents. It is about how much love you can give to your children,” Roman said.
“Of course, children would initially have basic questions about the situation, but this can be explained. When you raise them in a loving environment and there is free communication, it won’t be problem,” Roman added.