House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II said a law on gay marriage is not yet possible in the country, since Filipinos are “generally conservative.”
“I am of the opinion that at the moment, or even in the near future, it’s a no-no situation for same-sex marriage in the Philippines,” Gonzales said.
House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. agreed that Philippines is "not yet ready” to legislate same-sex marriage, adding that he himself will oppose such a law.
He added that he would rather preserve the definition of marriage under the Philippines’ Family Code (Republic Act 386 as amended by EO 209), which states that marriage can only be contracted between a male and a female.
The House leaders made these statements after United States President Barack Obama publicly expressed his support for gay marriage, saying that all couples should be treated equally.
Obama, who is seeking reelection, said the decision to legalize same-sex marriage should be left to individual states.
PNoy’s reservation on adoption by gays
President Benigno Aquino III has said he respects the right of gay couples to get married, but expressed reservation on gay couples adopting children.
"I don’t think I’m ready to tackle that fight right now. But the perspective… it is their choice," Aquino said when asked during the Asia Society Forum in New York where he delivered a speech during his visit to the US.
"Normally I would say, you’re adults, you should be able to do whatever you want so long as it doesn’t hurt anybody else. But if the next step is we want the right to adopt, then, I would be in a dilemma," he added.
He said the welfare of the child matters much. "My priority would be looking after the child who has a very tender and impressionable mind."
No House bill has currently been filed seeking to legalize gay marriage in the Philippines, a predominantly Roman Catholic country.
A measure against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity (House Bill 1483), authored by Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Teodoro Casiño, has been pending before the House committee on women and gender equality since November last year.
Gabriela Women’s party-list Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan, for her part, said that she does not see Aquino adopting a stand on gay marriage similar to Obama’s, accusing the Philippine president of being “detached from the needs of his people.”
“He [Aquino] is two-faced, saying he is pro-people, but bows to the pressure of the conservative Catholic Church,” Ilagan said in a separate statement.
The congresswoman is also the co-author of two controversial measures opposed by the Roman Catholic Church: House Bill 1799 or the proposed legislation legalizing divorce in the Philippines, and House Bill 4244 or the reproductive health (RH) bill. Both measures have been pending at the legislative mill for over a year now. — ELR, GMA News