MANILA — Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez on Thursday said he respects the rights of the proponents of same-sex marriage to legalize their highly controversial proposal in the country, adding there is nothing wrong to at least start serious discussions on the matter.

“I respect the rights of everyone and our fellow human being. At least for now, let the debates begin on same sex-marriage,” Romualdez said.

In debating same-sex marriage, Romualdez said the main consideration is the fact that Philippines is predominantly a Roman Catholic country which is vehemently opposing same-sex marriage.

“We are a Catholic country and so we have that sensitivity against same-sex marriage,” Romualdez explained saying that Filipino culture is still not yet prepared for same-sex marriage.

Personally, Romualdez, head of the House Independent Bloc, said he believes in the freedom of the people especially members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community to choose who they will love and to be with for the rest of their lives.

In a separate interview, Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares said Congress should determine how the proposal will work in the country by debating the proposal, addingthat discrimination becomes a main issue on same-sex marriage.

Colmenares said he is pushing for the approval of House Bill 1842 or the Anti-Discrimination Act of 2013 seeking to eliminate all forms of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. PNA/