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Bisexuality mulled as ground for separation

Woman lawmakers want to amend the country’s Family Code to include excessive gambling and bisexuality as among the grounds for legal separation.

Gabriela partylist Reps. Emmi A. De Jesus and Luzviminda C. Ilagan pushed for the passage of House Bill 5238 seeking to amend Article 55 of the Family Code of the Philippines.

“Legal separation is one of the existing tools under the Family Code which a woman suffering from an abusive spouse can opt to use to get out of an atrocious relationship,” De Jesus and Ilagan said.

HB 5238 has been pending with the House Committee on Revision of Laws since December 2014.

De Jesus and Ilagan clarified that legal separation will not dissolve the marriage, yet it will give relief to the aggrieved party.

“Amending certain provisions on legal separation will give women and their children additional State protection consistent with RA 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004,” they explained.

They said the measure will protect women who comprise the majority of the reported victims of violence within the typical Filipino family home.

Under HB 5238, a petition for legal separation may be filed on any of the following grounds: Physical, psychological, financial or economic or sexual violence against the petitioner, a common child, or a child of the petitioner; excessive gambling, and bisexuality.

Also included in the list of grounds are moral pressure to compel the petitioner to change religions or political affiliation; final judgment sentencing the respondent to imprisonment of more than six years, even if pardoned; drug addiction, habitual alcoholism of the respondents; lesbianism, and homosexuality of the respondent.

“The proposed amendments would also consider not only the number of times violence is perpetrated but also the severity or gravity of the violence committed,” Ilagan and De Jesus said.