SWS Survey: No to same-sex marriage; Duterte: yes on same-sex civil union, not same-sex marriage

NEW YORK –  Amid efforts to legalize same-sex marriage, a majority of Filipinos do not support the legalization of civil union of same-sex couples, a survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) from among 1,200 respondents showed. SWS conducted the survey from March 23 to 27 with a margin of error of ±3.

Highlights of the survey reveal:

  • Three in five or 61 percent disapprove of a legally recognized union of two men or two women. Of this number, 44 percent strongly disagree, 17 percent somewhat disagree, while only 22 percent agree with the idea. The remaining 16 percent are undecided. This yields a net agreement score of -40, which SWS considers as “very weak.”
  • Most religious groups opposed the same-sex civil union. A net agreement was lowest among members of Iglesia ni Cristo at an “extremely weak” -64, followed by members of Christian denominations also at an “extremely weak” -55, Muslims at a “very weak” -48, and Catholics at a “very weak” -36.
  • An opposition was also strongest among single men who are widowed, separated or divorced, with an “extremely weak” agreement score of -70. Manila has said the country is not yet ready for same-sex marriage.

Catholic prelates welcomed the result of the survey. Bataan Bishop Ruperto Santos noted that the survey showed that more Filipinos are pro-family and only support marriage between a man and a woman.

“This shows the deep religiosity of the Filipinos, they still are closed knit families, who value the sanctity and stability of marriage as just a man and a woman join together in marriage, not just union or partnership of same sex,” he said in an interview over the weekend.

“Family is a husband, a wife, and their children. Family builds up the society. A strong and united family makes the country peaceful and progressive,” Bishop Santos said. “Same-sex union does not make a family. It is a union because of common likes and dislikes. Supreme Court (SC) must rule against a same-sex civil union.”

In a separate interview, Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes said: “I am elated to know that the majority of Filipinos are opposed to a nonsensical same-sex marriage. This is a very good argument against the proponents of this idea when oral arguments are to be presented at the SC.”

He also said that the SC should be “sensitive to the voice of the people who follow the Constitution,” which he said, “marriage is defined as a union of man and woman. Filipino culture abhors the marriage of two men or of two women. It is unthinkable in our way of life, which is our culture.”

He added: “Same-sex marriage is a great infraction of our Constitution which we Filipinos must uphold, based on our culture and on our faith in the true and living God.”

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque told the media in Mason City in Southern Leyte that the “president opposes same-sex marriage. The president is part of the majority in opposing (same-sex marriage), but as for union, the president is in favor of it.”

He said President Duterte favors same-sex civil union because it “fixes the different aspects of the union of those of the same sex.”

A panel in the House of Representatives is deliberating a bill legalizing same-sex and live-in relationships, calling it a civil partnership. If the House bill becomes law, same-sex and live-in couples may be able to enjoy benefits given to married couples. House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, a friend, and an ally of Duterte authored the bill.

The bill proposes “to allow couples to enter into a civil partnership, whether they are of the opposite or of the same sex.” – Ricky Rillera

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