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  • Filipinos overwhelmingly rejected same-sex marriages in a 2015 survey.

    Filipinos overwhelmingly rejected same-sex marriages in a 2015 survey. | Photo: AFP

The Philippines would become the first Southeast Asian nation to legalize same-sex unions if he succeeds.

On Monday, Philippine Speaker of the House of Representatives Pantaleon Alvarez announced his intention to file a bill to legalize divorce and same-sex unions.

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Alvarez said all citizens should be allowed to divorce and same-sex couples allowed to have legally recognized unions.

"We must also be considerate of the fact that marriage may not be for everyone," he said.

"Presently, it even excludes certain groups of people from its fold. Our citizens should not be excluded from society just because of the person they love. They must also be treated with equality before the law," he added.

Congressman Teodoro Baguilat described the proposal as "bold, clear and progressive", but representative Tom Villarina said Congress should focus on passing an anti-discrimination bill put forward by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community because that proposal already had broad support.

Alvarez said divorce would strengthen the rights of minors and would be less tedious and expensive than annulling marriages, which can take years.

"They (would) no longer have to sling mud at each other in front of a judge just to convince the magistrate that their marriage should be declared void," he said.

But, Alvarez – who is a top ally to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte – will likely face resistance from the religious leaders in the majority Catholic country.

Filipinos overwhelmingly rejected same-sex marriages in a 2015 survey, showing nearly 70 percent of the 1,200 participants strongly disagreeing.

The Philippines would become the first Southeast Asian nation to legalize same-sex unions if he succeeds.

Twenty-seven countries have already recognized same-sex unions. A court in Taiwan issued a ruling in May that said same-sex couples had the right to marry legally.

The Vatican and the Philippines are the only states in which divorce is outlawed.


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