Just a few days after Taiwan passed a bill legalising same-sex marriage, the Philippine House of Representatives started conducting an online survey on same-sex unions.
The poll can be found on their website, and provides three answers for the following question: “Are you in favor of the proposal in the House of Representatives which legalizes same-sex unions as civil partnership in the country?”
Voters can pick “Yes,” “No,” or “Undecided” to answer the poll. As of publication time, there are 843 votes that are undecided, 73,737 votes in favor of the proposal, and 77,307 votes against the proposal. Before Philippine social media caught wind of the poll less than a day ago, 78% of the votes were against same-sex unions.
But why conduct an online poll at this time? It is unclear what the intention of Congress is with the survey. The poll comes more than a month before Pride March in June 28. It was also over 4 years ago in May 2015, when Atty. Jesus Nicardo Falcis III filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to nullify parts of the Family Code of the Philippines, specifically the passage that defines marriage as only between a man and a woman.
If Congress is mulling legislation on the other hand, perhaps someone should tell them that online polls can be easily manipulated – especially with Philippine government websites having been hacked in the past.
As for the possibility of same-sex legislation, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has been vocal about LGBT rights, but his views on same-sex marriage is inconsistent. In March 2017, he said he was against same-sex marriage, only to backtrack 9 months later during an LGBT gathering, wherein he said he supported same-sex marriage.
Another obstacle is the prevalence of the Catholic Church in the Philippines, where eighty percent of the population identifies as Catholic.