Seares: How Alvarez helps ‘ugly’ spouses

“If you wanna be happy/for the rest of your life/Never make a pretty woman your wife.”
-- “If You Wanna Be Happy,” Jimmy Soul
“Kung kasama mo siya/di baleng katakutan/Kong ikaw nama’y paglilingkuran.”
-- “Humanap Ka ng Panget,” Andrew E.

HOUSE Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, unlike American gospel singer Jimmy Soul and Filipino rapper Andrew E., doesn’t argue that having an ugly spouse is the answer to problems that break up couples in love or in marriage.

Alvarez, who pushes for House bill #6027 on “dissolution of marriage” and HB #6595 on “civil unions,” which seek to remove the hassle in existing laws, says it benefits couples in a “marriage for convenience,” where one gets hitched to an ugly spouse for his or her wealth.

Under his proposal, if no regime of property is agreed upon at the time of marriage, separation of property, not absolute community of property, applies.

So it doesn’t pitch that if your wife is not pretty, you’ll be happy forever, as Soul’s 1963 song does, or an ugly wife truly cares for your needs, as the Andrew E. 1990 hit claims.

Sexism, misogyny

Alvarez must know he’s raising a sexist, misogynistic view that “objectifies” women and adulates handsomeness or prettiness and stereotypes “rich-ugly” unions as surely doomed to fail. Andrew E. at least tells you to look for an ugly woman and “love her,” not just because she won’t cheat, or will wait hand-and-foot, on you.

It may have some basis too. If you believe a Wall Street Journal survey that says men with higher-than-normal testosterone, often associated with masculinity, tend to be unfaithful and less attractive women tend to be more loyal to their partners.

‘Medyo pangit’

Alvarez is a bit restrained in describing those women: “medyo pangit,” he told ANC’s Karen Davila, with the adjective supposed to lessen the sting. But then he’s a whiz at using euphemism: he proposes (1) “civil union” when it’s actually “marriage” and (2) “dissolution of marriage” when it’s actually “divorce.” And one of his bills, HB #6595, allows same-sex “union” without expressly saying so. He just takes out from the list of requirements the existing line that marriage is “a contract of a permanent union between a man and a woman.”

Divorce and same-sex marriage bills? They are and they are not just so-so or “medyo.” They’re a divorce bill and a same-sex marriage bill totally.

Call it as it is

HB #6027 and HB #6595 need to be understood fully by the publicso that constituents can write to House members and senators.

The provisions must be plainly spelled out. Euphemism to conceal intent or reduce impact when implemented shall be removed. Call it as it is: a bill that dissolves union “in a day or two of court hearing” (as Alvarez claimed during his Cebu visit last Nov. 17) and a bill that allows LGBTs to marry one another.

The Catholic Church and its defenders may bring on all they’ve got to defeat the bills. But Alvarez and other proponents shall defend them with the valid reasons they can muster, in a full-blown national debate, not just rammed through by force of the supermajority in Congress.
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