Senate President Vicente Sotto III still sees no need for a law that would legalize same-sex union in the Philippines, saying it is being “tolerated”, anyway.

sotto 2 - Sotto sees no need for law on same-sex union in PH
Sen. Vicente Sotto III (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)

Sotto weighed in on the issue after Pope Francis was reported endorsing same-sex civil union in the documentary “Francesco,” which premiered at the Rome Film Festival this week.

The Pope was said to be the first pontiff to declare his support for this amid the Church’s long-standing position against same-sex relationships.

“Same-sex union is already being practiced here and there is nothing we can do about it. Same-sex marriage is the one which is not acceptable to many religions and other sectors,” Sotto, a devout Catholic, said in text message when asked to comment.

The Senate chief acknowledged though that without a law allowing same-sex civil union, same-sex partners cannot enjoy the same benefits afforded by the State to heterosexual couples.

“It’s just tolerated but not in the legal sense. We should leave it at that. Baka mapag-initan pa,” he maintained.

Contrary to the Palace’s statements, Sotto believes that the Pope’s backing will not sway conservative lawmakers in the Philippines into supporting same-sex union. Sotto has been opposed to measures concerning the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) community.

“I doubt it,” he said.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque reiterated on Thursday President Duterte’s support for the recognition of civil union of same-sex couples, but said the passage of a law on this would still depend on Congress.

In the interview on “Francesco”, Pope Francis said homosexuals also have the right to be in a family.

“You can’t kick someone out of a family, nor make their life miserable for this. What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered,” the Pope was quoted as saying in the documentary.

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