By: Pastor Manny
Divorce is still one of the most controversial issues na meron tayo in our current times. It’s so controversial na meron laging pro-divorce and anti-divorce kapag lagi tong nadidiscuss. In this new series of mine, I will deal with the random comments na makikita ko either sa posts namin, posts ng iba or videos and in this case, I will deal with the common arguments for divorce. It’s true na mahalaga malaman ang stance ng mga senators about this, but it is also important to know kung ano ang common na sinasabi ng mga mamamayang Pilipino. The comments below are from a youtube video in ANC 24/7 that discusses whether Philippines should legalize divorce or not .
Comment #1: Separation of Church and State
One common comment na makikita niyo sa kanila ay ang citation ng separation of Church and State. For example, one comment said:
“It’s not complicated, It’s just that religious people have a hard time when it sinks in that other people doesn’t have to CONFORM to their PERSONAL BELIEFS. There are no great arguments against it, all if not majority of it are RELIGIOUS BASED ARGUMENTS w/c aren’t supposed to be part of the conversation. RELIGION and BELIEFS have NO PART in LEGISLATION  [emphasis added].”
I will make some clarifications. It’s true na I don’t recommend citing the Bible, and then saying that as such, divorce should not be given legal recognition since ang question ng absolute divorce bill is a question of public policy rather than theology. However, I don’t fully agree sa sinabi niya na religion and beliefs have no part in legislation, and I will explain it why.
First, if consistent siya sa separation of Church and State, how come that the government is recognizing marriages in religious institutions? The only political ideology na consistent sa separation of Church and State ay libertarianism and the libertarian position on marriage is that the government should not handle any form of marriages. And yet, the fact na he is advocating to give a divorce option sa lahat ng marriages, not just sa civil marriage but also in legally recognized marriages in religious institutions show na in his perspective, he is not consistent sa separation of Church and State. Second, you just can’t separate religious beliefs in legislation. For example, how come that polygamy option is provided in legally recognized Islamic marriage? How come na walang polygamy option na binibigay sa Catholic marriages? The reason is this. Islam defines marriage as polygamous in nature while Catholicism defines marriage as monogamous in marriage. And, for the government to recognize marriage, the government has to accept that definition of marriage. As such, dapat iaccept ng government ang definition of marriage ng Islam, which is why polygamy is allowed sa case nila, and ang definition of marriage sa Catholic Church, which is why polygamy is not allowed sa case ng Catholic marriages. However, this is the problem sa absolute divorce bill. It’s also a fact na the Catholic Church doesn’t just define marriage as monogamous, it also defines it as INDISSOLUBLE as clearly seen sa Canon 1056 . As such, dapat irecognize ng government ang definition ng marriage in Catholic institution na indissoluble which is, by definition, doesn’t have a divorce option. The idea of giving divorce option to every marriage contract out there is similar to the idea of giving polygamy option to every marriage contract out there. Just as it’s absurd na magkaroon ng “absolute polygamy bill” hypothetically, it’s also absurd na magkaroon ng “absolute divorce bill.” This is why I always tell others that absolute divorce is an absolute nonsense, and this just shows the importance of religious beliefs in legislation.
Comment #2: Annulment is for the Rich
Another comment na makikita natin from pro-divorce ay ang argument na annulment is only for the rich, therefore divorce should be legalized. One comment says:
“What is wrong with you attorney. Give chance to poor people. ANNULMENT is for RICH people. Minsan ang love bale wala sa mga mayayaman dahil kayang kaya nila mag bayad ng annulment. Paano naman kaming mga MAHIRAP  [emphasis added]?”
I have a couple of comments about this argument. First, I don’t think na this answers the central question tungkol sa divorce with regards to public policy. For me, ang central question sa issue ng divorce is whether marriage is indissoluble or dissoluble. And, citing na pang mayaman lang ang annulment doesn’t answer or even tackle that question at all. Second, this is not an argument for divorce. Rather, this is an argument para babaan ang bayad for annulment. Other than that, it’s not an argument para sa absolute divorce bill, it’s an argument para sa “Church Nullity Act of 2019” bill. In fact, this bill is more consistent sa response ko on the first comment since ang mangyayari lang ay magkakaroon ng civil effect ang annulment or dissolution (or divorce) na gagawin sa particular religious institution. As such, this promotes religious freedom rather than forcing a dissoluble marriage view sa lahat ng marriage contract, and this is more economic than absolute divorce bills since even if mag padivorce sila, assuming na Catholic sila, they still have to file for an annulment na dagdag bayad while in this case, all they need to do is to have an annulment (or divorce sa ibang religion) at isang bayaran na lang rather than dalawa. I don’t even buy this argument given na in United States of America, the cost of divorce is usually abuot $15,000 . On the other hand, ang cost ng annulment sa USA ay from $500 to $5,000 . As such, ang nakikita ko dito ay it’s even possible na mas mahal ang maging bayad ng divorce sa Pilipinas tulad ng ginagawa sa ibang bansa.