Why pass divorce bill when the state already allows legal separation? | Inquirer Opinion

Why pass divorce bill when the state already allows legal separation?

/ 05:01 AM May 30, 2024

Article XV, Section 1 of our Constitution recognizes the Filipino family as the foundation of the nation. It also mandates the state to strengthen its solidarity and actively promote its total development. Section 2 further states: “Marriage, as an inviolable social institution, is the foundation of the family and shall be protected by the State.”

The passage of the divorce bill in the House of Representatives last week reminds us citizens that families have a social role to see that the laws and institutions of the state not only do not offend but support and positively defend the rights and duties of the family.

Just as the family must be open to and participate in society and in its development, so also society, specifically the state, should never fail in its fundamental task of respecting and fostering the family.

The marriage bond is not an ordinary contract that can be negotiated, amended, or terminated. Marriage is a covenant with God in the middle of the union of husband and wife. This gives marriage a divine function, elevating human love to a supernatural order. For marriage to work under God’s plan, it needs the characteristics of unity and indissolubility. The state must protect and defend that.


Each marriage is imperfect because the persons within the marriage are imperfect themselves. Married people realize the difficulties and the challenges they go through, especially in this culture of the ephemeral—a throw-away culture, where things and people are disposable, substitutable, and replaceable, which prevents a constant process of growth. Pope Francis in “Amoris laetitia” inspires married couples to accept the challenges and make their love grow as time passes.

The quality of a society is only as good as the quality of its families. A French saying goes, you can tell the quality of a society by the quality of its women. Here the state should work on the real problem of families: poverty, education, health, violence, pornography, and immoral lifestyles promoted by media.

We already have legal separation for impossible marriage unions. There is available nullification of invalid married unions. Why go further to legalize divorce that will cheapen the marriage bond? Wasn’t the 48 percent rate of divorces to total marriages in the United States in 1975 likely to spiral and be assimilated into the Filipino culture?

If in divorce societies half the number of persons who marry fail to find happiness in marriage, will they find happiness in a second marriage? Studies by Fr. Cormac Burke, a noted authority on marriage and the family, say the divorce rate is three to four times higher among divorcees than among those who marry for the first time.


Divorce in the case of battered wives ends up in abusive husbands beating up other women. And in our poor country, how can the average divorced man afford to maintain children from a previous marriage if he has a second family?

We pray our senators will protect and defend the Filipino family and not pass the divorce bill.


Lella M. de Jesus,

Diocese of Parañaque

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