Vice President bet and Congresswoman Leni Robredo said she is torn between being a Catholic and a public official when it comes to legalizing same-sex marriage in the Philippines.
In an interview with Esquire Philippines for its November 2015 issue, the Camarines Sur congresswoman and vice presidential candidate of the Liberal Party said same-sex marriage should be legalized in the Philippines despite pressure from the Catholic Church.
She defined the two sets of moral and legal standards that the church and state should protect – the church on the “morals and values of the flock,” while the government on the rights of its citizens, including the right to marry regardless of gender.
“As a Catholic, I don’t think I’d go for it, pero (but) I think government should legalize it. Kasi (Because) it’s the obligation of government to make sure that rights should be universal regardless of religion, sex, and gender,” Robredo said when asked if she would support same-sex marriage.
“Halimbawa (For example), as a Catholic, dapat obligasyon ng simbahan namin (it should be the obligation of the church) to take care of the morals and values of the flock. Pero ang gobyerno dapat (But the government) assures that rights should be protected, and that includes getting married to a person of the same sex,” she added.
The Catholic Church in the Philippines has vehemently opposed same-sex marriage, saying it destroys the essence of a family between man and woman and that it is a “sin to chastity.”
Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President, Archbishop Socrates Villegas, urged Filipinos not to tolerate the legalization of rights for homosexual couples which is becoming the trend in other countries.
He made the reaction after the Supreme Court of the United States legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states.
Robredo made the statement of her support for same-sex marriage in the Esquire interview by writer-director Antoinette Jadaone, who wrote and directed the hit independent romantic-comedy film “That Thing Called Tadhana.”
Robredo earned praise on social media for her stance on the issue. In a Facebook post, netizen Isaac Saguit said he witnessed Robredo express the same position on same-sex marriage during her visit to the College of Law, University of Cebu-Banilad Campus on Dec. 9.
Robredo supposedly told the students that everyone has the right to marry the person he or she loves, regardless of gender.
Robredo also supposedly said government should not cater to one religion.
“When asked about same-sex marriage, Leni Robredo, without fear and without thinking twice, told Cebuanos in UC that everyone should be able to choose who they wish to love. She reminded everyone that human rights is universal and that everyone should enjoy the same rights everyone else is enjoying,” Saguit wrote in the viral post.
“She also pointed out that while we should respect religious beliefs and the right to religion, we should also respect the fact that the state does not and should not cater only to one religious group,” Saguit added.
Leni Robredo is the widow of former Interior Sec. Jesse Robredo, who died in a helicopter crash in 2012.
Robredo in 2013 ran and won the congressional district in Camarines Sur buoyed by the public sentiment for her husband, who before his death espoused the modest “tsinelas” (slippers) leadership when he was Naga city mayor.
The neophyte congresswoman whipped the Villafuerte political dynasty, which has ruled the district for at least 40 years.
Robredo earlier was hesitant to take on the vice presidential candidacy because of her lack of experience in politics. But she said she accepted the offer of Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas because she knows her late husband Jesse would have agreed to it.