The Philippines Must Legalize Divorce, But the Catholic Church Stands in the Way March 30, 2018

The Philippines Must Legalize Divorce, But the Catholic Church Stands in the Way

In the Philippines, where divorce is illegal, women and children who can’t break free from unhealthy marriages are the ones affected the most. But a bill to allow for divorces in certain situations not only has to overcome legislative hurdles and arguments in favor of tradition, but also opposition from the Catholic Church.

The New York Times reports:

The Philippines is the only country in the world, aside from Vatican City, where divorce remains illegal.

No bill on divorce has ever made it this far in Congress. The measure is the rare piece of legislation supported by representatives from both the majority and opposition parties in the House. A survey released this month found that 53 percent of Filipinos support legalizing divorce.

About 80 percent of Filipinos are Roman Catholic, and previous attempts to pass a divorce bill have faltered under the influence of the Catholic Church here, which vehemently opposes legislation that runs counter to its teachings.

The article tells the story of one woman who’s separated from her husband (in theory, anyway). Even though they haven’t been together in more than a decade, she has to continue using his last name and she gets no financial support for their son who lives with her.

If divorce is illegal, the least the Philippine government could do is force deadbeat dads to pay child support. For a law that’s supposedly for the benefit of families, it’s causing the precise opposite effect. You would think the Church would want to fix a problem of their own creation — but if history is precedent, they’ll oppose this bill, too.

They’re all for the “sanctity of marriage,” even if certain marriages create more problems than they solve.

(Image via Shutterstock)

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