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Villanueva: No to same-sex marriage but will study civil unions

Senator Joel Villanueva on Friday expressed his support to “civil unions” for same-sex couples but not “marriage” particularly in the religious aspect.

Villanueva issued the remark after Senator Robin Padilla filed a bill seeking to institutionalize civil unions of same-sex couples.

“Personally, we can agree to support civil unions only for as long as they are called and regarded as what they are - civil unions - but not ‘marriage’ especially in the religious sense,” Villanueva said.

“I still believe that marriage is exclusively between a man and a woman,” he added.

Villanueva, son of Bro. Eddie Villanueva, who founded the Jesus Is Lord Church Worldwide (JILCW), said the proposed bill would need “support and scrutiny” from all sectors especially in religious communities.

“This is not the first time that this bill is filed and like in the past, it would certainly need support and scrutiny from all sectors, especially the religious communities,” he said.

“I am eager to hear from Senator Padilla and my colleagues about their views on the matter,” he added.

In filing Senate Bill 449 or the proposed Civil Unions Act, Padilla said that the 1987 Constitution does not explicitly mention Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC) but it does not prohibit or exclude civil partnerships or unions of same-sex couples.

Padilla said his proposed measure seeks to recognize the civil union between two persons of the same or opposite sex for them to be able to enjoy the rights, protection, and privileges afforded by the bill.

He also noted that same-sex marriage or civil unions have been legalized in 31 countries, either through legislation or court decisions as of December 2021.

Senator Risa Hontiveros, meanwhile, expressed support for Padilla’s bill, adding that the passage of the SOGIE Equality Bill is the most important measure that should be passed to end discrimination.

“I am thrilled to have a passionate ally in Sen. Padilla and I look forward to working with him in championing equality and LGBTQIA+ rights on the Senate floor,” Hontiveros said in a statement.

Fr. Jerome Secillano of Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines' Episcopal Commission on Public Affairs, for his part, said they have yet to see Padilla's proposed measure but insisted that the Church could not be forced by the State to honor something that is against its belief.

Interviewed on Dobol B TV earlier in the day, Secillano said even if the bill is already a law, the Church could still not honor same-sex unions. —Richa Noriega/KBK/AOL, GMA News