Church leaders in the Philippines have voiced disapproval of an online poll launched by Congress asking people whether they are in favor of or against same-sex unions.
The survey, posted on the official House of Representatives website
, asks respondents whether it is time to legalize same-sex unions.
A disclaimer noted that the poll "does not reflect the opinions, inclinations, or views of the House of Representatives" including its members and employees.
It also said that that the poll aims "to [foment] public discussion in aid of potential legislation."
As of 3 p.m. local time on May 27, a total of 289,958 had voted in favor, while 218,679 said they believed same sex marriage was wrong.
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Father Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the public affairs office of the Catholic bishops' conference, said that although surveys reflect the sentiment of the people, it "does not reflect the truth."
"Even if a majority of Filipinos favor same sex union and call it by any other name such as civil partnership, the truth is that such a union is still called marriage," said the priest.
He said Catholic bishops maintain that marriage must be between a man and a woman as enshrined in the Philippine Constitution, the Family Code and as ordained by God.
"Marriage as willed by God is between a man and a woman," said Bishop Honesto Ongtioco of Cubao in an earlier interview.Archbishop Ramon Arguelles
, the retired Lipa prelate, said same-sex marriage is not only against Divine Law, but is also against human and natural law.
"The purpose of marriage is to have a family, kids ... but if the couple is of the same sex the one who will suffer the most in this situation is their child because it's not normal," said the archbishop.
The survey comes ahead of the Philippine observance of "Pride Month" in June and several days after same-sex marriage was legalized in Taiwan
In June last year, only two in 10 people favored same-sex unions in the predominantly Catholic country. A survey by pollster Social Weathers Stations showed that 61 percent of Filipinos disagree with the proposal to legalize same-sex marriage, 22 percent agree, and 16 percent are undecided.