Alvarez hopes Pope’s remark would change tide for same-sex union bill

Published October 22, 2020, 4:58 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Davao del Norte congressman and former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez hopes that Pope Francis’ affectionate view toward homosexuals would sway his fellow legislators into favoring the proposed same-sex union law.

Pope Francis (Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / POOL / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

This, as Alvarez noted that the measure–House Bill (HB) No.2264 or the proposed Act recognizing the civil partnership of couples, providing for their rights and obligations–has been “stuck in the doldrums” this 18th Congress.

“With Pope Francis sharing his thoughts about this issue, let us be optimistic that more legislators in the House and in the Senate become open and supportive to the objectives of House Bill 2264. Our LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) brothers and sisters deserve to have protections, under the law, for their respective union with the person they choose to be their life partner,” he said in a statement.

For Alvarez, the leader of the Catholic church declared support for same-sex civil unions when the latter said: “Homosexual people have a right to be in a family. They are children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable over it.”

The Pope made these remarks in the documentary “Francescom” which was released on October 21.

“I am thankful for the enlightening and courageous stance taken by Pope Francis…Just as he recognized and declared his support for this cause, I hope our colleagues in both chambers of Congress will be enlightened too,” said the Mindanaoan.

Same-sex union or marriage is a very sensitive topic in the Philippines, a predominantly Catholic country. This notwithstanding, the 17th Congress version of HB No. 2264 appeared to enjoy significant support as it was deliberated upon thrice by the Committee on Women and Gender Equality during Alvarez’s tenure as Speaker.

The House panel is yet to tackle the measure in the 18th Congress.

“On my part, I understand that the opposition against civil unions come from members of our community with conservative views. But let us ask, is there really reason to oppose Civil Unions based on conservatism? After all, if two persons choose to love, care for, support (and be faithful to) each other, and to have these rights, duties, and obligations protected and enforceable by law, is this not conservatism too?” asked Alvarez.

Meanwhile, the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) secretary-general thanked Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman for also championing the cause and rights of the LGBT community. Roman is transgender.