Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez of Davao del Norte will seek to legalize same-sex marriage in the country, saying everybody deserves to be happy.
Alvarez on Monday disclosed that he is working on a draft bill on the same- sex marriage measure to amend the Family Code, which defines marriage 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.”
“I am preparing a draft bill. The Constitution provides for it. Why would you get in the way of happiness? I stand with the members of the LGBT in this. If that would make them happy, why don’t we support it?” Alvarez said of his plan to file the draft bill.
LGBT stands for Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgenders.
The 1987 Constitution’s Preamble reads: “We, the sovereign Filipino people, imploring the aid of Almighty God, in order to build a just and humane society and establish a Government that shall embody our ideals and aspirations, promote the common good, conserve and develop our patrimony, and secure to ourselves and our posterity the blessings of independence and democracy under the rule of law and a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace, do ordain and promulgate this Constitution.”
“I am yet to seek support from the members. This is open to everybody who would like to be a sponsor, too. I just want to show that I respect and I stand with the LGBT in protecting their dignity,” Alvarez, a lawyer, pointed out.
He said is unfazed by strong opposition of the Catholic Church to same-sex marriage.
The Catholic Church had also opposed the Reproductive Health (RH) bill, arguing that it should not be a policy of the state to provide free contraceptives such as condoms and intrauterine device because these can kill fertilized egg and promote promiscuity in relationships.
The RH bill, however, was still signed into law in December 2013.
“That is why we are in a democracy. There will always be an opposition. The beauty of democracy is we can argue but, at the end of the day, it’s the [will of the]majority that will prevail,” Alvarez said.
Under the Family Code, marriage can be solemnized by any incumbent member of the judiciary within the court’s jurisdiction; any priest, rabbi, imam or minister of any church or religious sect duly authorized by his church or religious sect and registered with the civil registrar general, acting within the limits of the written authority granted by his church or religious sect and provided that at least one of the contracting parties belongs to the solemnizing officer’s church or religious sect; any ship captain or airplane chief for marriage between passengers or crew; any military commander of a unit to which a chaplain is assigned and any consul-general, consul or vice-consul in the case provided in Article 10.
The Speaker, however, conceded that he faces an uphill climb on the ground-breaking measure.
“I can’t predict the chances of its passage. It would go through a process of an ordinary bill because the administration has a lot of priority bills,” Alvarez said.
But for Rep. Tobias Tiangco of Navotas City (Metro Manila), same-sex marriage is not an urgent issue.
“You can love each other without getting married. They [LGBT] know the limits of their situation. Society is not ready for it,” Tiangco said in an interview.